This week from director Oliver Stone is the Bluray regarding the life of Edward Snowden as Universal Pictures Home Entertainment brings SNOWDEN.
It is 2013 and in a hotel room, Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has gathered reporters Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo), Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and Ewen MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson). There he begins to tell his story with the beginning of his time at boot camp.
It quickly becomes clear that something is wrong with his legs. Disappointed that he can’t continue, the doctor tells him there is other ways to “serve his country”. That way turned into a job interview with the CIA.
He trains at ‘The Hill’ under the watchful eye of Corbin O’Brian (Rhys Ifans), Snowden speaks to Hank Forrester (Nicolas Cage) who encourages him to keep his eyes open as to what is happening around him. Snowden meets his online tech-mate Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley). He shares that he works for the government and they can’t really discuss what he does. That doesn’t seem to stop the couple from becoming a couple.
Embraced by both O’Brian and Forrester, Snowden quickly moves up the ranks. Taking a position in Geneva, he is in the section that deals with security. This is where he learns that the world is being watched through the internet.
Really wanting to work on a case, he bugs an agent who finally has clearance asking Snowden to get banking information from guests at a gathering. His lack of social skills makes him uncomfortably awkward and needs to be saved by girlfriend Lindsay.
When he realizes what it takes to be involved in a case, he resigns from the CIA, he goes to Japan to work for Dell and Lindsay joins him. This is around the time Obama is running for President and Snowden believes the new Commander-in-Chief can change things. Upset that everything he is doing is under the umbrella of terrorism, he continues to work but not quite sure why he has to spy on everyone.
In 2011 they return to the United States and Snowden goes back to the CIA as a contractor. That’s when he hears that people are coming out whistle blowing on the government. Still unhappy, he hangs with instructor O’Brian sharing his disappointment.
When offered a position in Hawaii that is created specifically for him, Lindsay isn’t happy that she once again is really on the back burner. Right before they leave, the couple discovers Snowden has a medical issue. That scare changes Lindsay’s mind to move to Hawaii for his health.
While in Hawaii, Edward figures out that those in charge are watching him but more importantly he is caught spying on his own girlfriend. Now more paranoid than ever he decides he needs to get the information off his computer and give it to journalists.
Back to 2013 as Snowden watches as the journalists put it out to the world and spends days watching the news with his face plastered everywhere. Snowden knows he must go into hiding making his way from Hong Kong to Russia.
Levitt as Snowden does a remarkable job of looking and sounding nothing like himself. Wrapping himself up in this role Levitt is given the opportunity to do something I have not seen him do before – help me forget that he is an actor playing a real person.
Woodley as Lindsay is a spirited and open person from the moment she meets Edward. That is the flip side to the quiet and secretive Edward. She gives up a lot of her life for his career and even puts her own career on hold – I’m not sure I would do that but Woodley made me believe she would.
Cage as Forrester gets a few minutes in the beginning and a few minutes at the end where he cheers without actually cheering when Snowden goes public.
Richardson as Janine gets a tongue lashing from Quinto’s character as if a journalist would talk to an editor that way and still have a job. Olyphant gets to be a cool James Bond for a few scenes as CIA Agent Geneva and he does look amazing.
Leo as Laura babies Snowden every chance she gets, Quinto as Greenwald is hot tempered and intense. Wilkinson character only wants the story – period. He is cautious and careful but biting at the bit to be the first and right!
Ifans as Corbin O’Brian is the scary ‘villain’ created by Snowden. Ifans gives his character a frightening element that doesn’t shift gears. There are moments where this character edges on being a softer human being and then snaps out of it. Loved his performance which is weird.
The tagline says ‘you don’t have to pick a side, but you will’ giving us choices of soldier, traitor, spy, hero, hacker and patriot. This is a film that each person who views it will have to make their own decision on Snowden’s actions.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.
The Bluray and DVD Bonus Features include Deleted Scenes, Finding the Truth: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, and Oliver Stone discuss what attracted them to the project and how they worked together to tell Edward Snowden’s story, and Snowden: Q&A: A panel discussion about the film featuring Edward Snowden, Oliver Stone, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Shailene Woodley moderated by Matt Zoller Seitz.
In the end – it is one nation under surveillance for liberty and justice for all.