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Snowden
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Snowden

In the summer of 2013, NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified documents, prompting the media to both champion him as a whistle-blower and call him a traitor……

With a director like Stone, a man known to be very controversial and daring when it comes to making fact based films, you would understandably expect this feature to take a lot of risks, and maybe vex some officials in suits somewhere, just like he did with J.F.K and Nixon.

But with Snowden, he plays it very safe, only hinting at what really happened behind the scenes, by using some very talented actors in small parts, and by also using some stunning imagery.

Levitt is sensational as the titular subject, almost playing Snowden as an innocent child who has been given the keys to the world, but cannot take what is inside his metaphorical Pandoras Box.

And this is where the film excels with its narrative, you know that he was taking some monumental risks with what he was doing, but he did it for the greater good, despite the ever growing paranoia which is affecting him, and wonderfully affecting the narrative.

The higher Snowden goes up the occupational ladder, the stronger the paranoia is, and the more effect it has on his relationship, which is also one of the films strong points.

Woodley is brilliant as Mills, and the narrative shows that she is dedicated to Snowden and despite her wariness about moving around, she stands by him, but Snowden doubts her, and thus in some scenes, we start to doubt her too, particularly during a party when we see Mills talking to a guy, but we are seeing it from Snowdens point of view, so we feel his paranoia.

Stone has gathered one of the best casts of the year, and they all put in tremendous performances, especially Ifans as O’Brian, the all seeing eye, and Stone reminds us that he is a force to be reckoned with, especially a scene where Snowden is talking to him on a huge monitor, the overwhelming effect that this has just shows that Stone still has that knack to get a point across.

Cage plays a very small role as Forrester, someone who may have known a little too much at one time, and so is relegated to some sort of lower level professor, possibly foreshadowing Snowdens future.

All in all, Snowden is an exceptional film, but it pulls its punches when it comes to the facts, and with Stone at the helm, I was expecting it to be a little more edgier.

Would make a great double bill with Citizenfour.