Saturday, 24 December 2016

'Snowden' Review


Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has became disillusionised with his job at the NSA and looks to leave. He has a whole load of information that the government has hidden from the public. He looks to leak this information to inform the citizens of the US turning him into a hero for some and a traitor to others.

Multi-Academy Award winner Oliver Stone is back after 4 years with his latest film 'Snowden'. The task to create a film based on the whistleblower looks to have been a tough task and 'Snowden' appears to have shown that. The biographical drama film has so many aspects within it that ultimately are the demise of the film. The film has to set up the figure that is Snowden, what he can do, what he has created, where he's worked and his relationships with certain people. This is also coinciding with real-time events where he is working with journalists to get the leaked information to the public. There is a whole load of information that the film tries to get across which ultimately it fails in doing so. This is down to the fact that it just isn't interesting enough for general audiences. The film is so unmemorable and isn't intriguing enough for you to be talking about or even thinking about once you've left the cinema. In the effort of fitting a lot of backstory to the film, it forgot to be entertaining or even interesting. 

The film does pick up at the end when we get to see Snowden actually stealing the information to expose the government. This was quite an interesting look at the secret services as you would wonder how someone could escape with something classified in such a protected area. Unfortunately, the film has been on for over an hour and a half already and that section is finished very quickly. For what it was, though, it was a good look at how someone would be able to pull something like this off, especially when he isn't doing anything extravagant.

The best parts of this film come in the performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. The relationship of Snowden and girlfriend Lindsay Mills was entertaining due to the chemistry of these two fine actors. The two worked very well with each other, bringing some much-needed life to the film as it was a real relationship and not just constant information being fired at the audience. Gordon-Levitt is solid throughout the whole film, even when using a different voice. Gordon-Levitt's efforts in this film must be applauded as he does his best with the material given. Woodley continues to impress and was a great addition to this movie. The film needed some life and Woodley brings it as she is upbeat and actually has personality. Other than her, the rest of the characters were very disposable and bland allowing Woodley to stand out even more. 

The film is listed as being a thriller which the film mot definitely doesn't deliver on. There aren't many scenes that you feel true tension, this actually comes in most within the relationship of Snowden and Lindsay Mills. This may be due to the film trying to be realistic but the film doesn't add much tension to the scenes where Snowden is escaping with the information or when with the journalists. There are some attempts but if you think a 'Do Not Disturb' sign falling off of a hotel door is tense, then this is for you. There is the potential within this film to create some really tense moments but the film fails to capitalise on it.

If you are fascinated by the character that is Edward Snowden, you may get some enjoyment as the film does go into detail about his life. I would also say that you may be best checking out a documentary instead if doing so. A film that just didn't click unfortunately.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Snowden'? If so, what did you think of the film? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the film. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor