By Daniel DeLucia
Based on the true story of Edward Snowden, a retired contractor for the CIA and the NSA who leaked documents disclosing the unconstitutional actions conducted by these programs, Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” is a film that will satisfy any hacker, polecat junkie, or anyone who loves films that are contentious and can spark debates on government trust.
The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto and Nicholas Cage. Snowden, played by Levitt, is training for the military when he accidentally breaks his leg falling from his bed bunk. He then applied and eventually worked for the CIA where he was assigned to the organization’s global communications division. After a short time, the CIA assigned him to diplomatic cover, responsible for maintaining computer network secularity in Geneva, Switzerland and then in Tokyo working as a sun-contractor for the NSA.
After leaving Tokyo, he moved back to his home state of Maryland and finally worked at an NSA office in Hawaii. This was his last job prior to releasing the classified documents showing that the NSA not only was illegally spying on Americans, but also on countries around the globe. Once the documents were released, Snowden fled to Hong Kong and eventually gained asylum in Russia where he still remains today.
The movie also depicted several possible unknown truths about Snowden’s personal life. Viewers start to see the fluctuation of the relationship between his wife, Lindsay Mills, and himself due to the stress of constantly traveling to various parts of the world. Viewers will also find out about his struggle dealing with seizures while working in Maryland and Hawaii.
Unlike most films that romanticize and exaggerate true stories, “Snowden” did not. It incorporated real news clips and videos of politicians, news anchors and meetings. Such as the infamous hearing with NSA Director James Clapper, deliberately lying to Congress about NSA surveillance, and a surprise ending that provided a more realistic feel to the movie.
This film provided the audience with a very accurate while simultaneously entertaining account of a story that shows the true nature of a malicious and unconstitutional form of government. It also displays how heroes like Edward Snowden- are responsible for fighting for basic civil liberties- are treated by the media, political figures and government organizations, It is a film that is contentious and shines light on the debate whether people should trust the government and what the government’s role in society should be.