Snowden (2016) Review


Edward Snowden made headlines three years ago when he leaked a lot of classified government information to the press. How the US were spying on well everyone by using illegal surveillance techniques.


The film documents his story and life after he was discharged from the Army and ended up using his computer hacking skills to help his country. He was a member of the CIA and NSA over a period of seven years. Taking in and trying to deal with what the US were doing while apparently trying to stop and even prevent terrorism. The film paints the picture to show that they weren’t actually doing it to stop terrorism, but to control well everyone around the world.

It was a fascinating watch as we start in Hong Kong in 2013 in the build up to the media using the information he has as breaking news and stories. A very clever move from Snowden really as he knows that when the government worked out he had copied and stolen a lot of files that they would arrest him, he wanted to use the media as protection. So everyone knew all about it and him so he wouldn’t be dealt with in an unconventional manner.

This is a very quick turnaround from happening and in the news to having a film made around it, but I think due to the importance of the information and things that were going on it has to be really to keep interest going and ensuring people are actually save to use technology. It will make you double think about that camera on the top of your computer, or even the one on your phone or tablet, is someone watching you right now? Is someone checking your text messages, email, Facebook, Twitter and everything else you are doing online? I guess its something you have to expect now that you can be constantly watched and tracked. All those apps we download have to have something else build in them right?Well, we can just hope Snowden has helped prevent some of this from happening.

On the flip side to that though you do want to stop terrorism and any plots/plans that will see people die. That would be ok right? You would hope so, but when systems are built with the purpose of tracking all activity you just know it will be abused. Whether or not that person has security clearance or not, wouldn’t you always be tempted to search for some you know? Check up on people to make sure they are telling the truth? That is certainly what it makes you think and wonder about if you had the power and chance would you?

I like the format of the film to start at the almost end and go back to see what he was doing in different countries in different years. The effect his work had on not only himself and his head but on the relationship with his girlfriend Lindsay Mills. Who really did stick by him through thick and thin, which he seems to be extremely lucky in all honesty as at times he did not really come across very well at all.

Snowden’s talent with a computer was made very clear and his rise in the CIA was very quick. Considering he was only 29 when he decided to steal and release this information. It does mean that he has been without an actual country for over three years now, but what would you have done in his position? Although I guess he was pretty wealthy from it all!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt really does put in a fantastic performance as Snowden and at times looks unrecognisable as himself, I hope that makes sense but I really did feel him as the character as thought he was just so different. That has to be a massive compliment to his brilliant performance. We even get the real Edward Snowden at the end as well. A very powerful and important film that does not feel as long as it’s running times! I really do recommend you head out to watch this one!

6 thoughts on “Snowden (2016) Review

  1. I loved JGL in the role but it wasn’t the greatest bio-pic I’ve ever watched. I got a bit sleepy midway! i guess I’ll have to rewatch when I’m more awake!


  2. I managed to get a sneak peak at this a couple of months ago and I really enjoyed it. You are spot on with JGL, I thought he was absolutely superb as Snowden particularly his altered speech pattern to make him sound identical to Edward, and the ending scene where they switch between JGL and Edward just highlighted that fact. Shailene Woodley was also really good as his long suffering partner Lindsay and they really took on the whole film and you did get invested in their relationship, made them very real.
    I did have an issue with the way that the story was put across in a fairy-tale fashion. Almost as if Snowden had never done anything wrong before. Don’t get me wrong, I think what he has done was vital and amazing but it needed to be a bit more balanced I think.


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