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Snowden was a Patriot
rysmith2517 September 2016
I don't understand people that complain about this movie.

There is zero to complain about in this movie. You got to wonder if the low reviews are government paid employees or just Oliver Stone haters.

I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen. I was mesmerized from the beginning of the film until the end. I honestly had no idea it ran two hours and 20 minutes. A movie is never too long if you don't look at your phone and check the time. Myself, nor did anyone in the theater once look down at their phone. The movie had great cinematography, excellent pacing, strong emotional dialogue, and solid character/relationship arcs. You can't ask for much more of a drama based on a true story. Excellent job Oliver. Welcome back!

The truth is people don't want to hear it. If it doesn't directly affect their cozy iPhone streaming lives, than they don't want to hear about it. They don't want to hear that they are wage slaves. They don't want to hear that there is no such thing as privacy in this country. They don't want to hear that the government isn't a democracy. People don't want to hear that the American government isn't a government at all, and that it's been replaced by a multi-national fortunate 100 corporate conglomeration funded by the international banking cartel. People don't want to know the truth.

I'd venture a guess that most of the people that rated this movie poorly didn't even see the movie. These are the same people that can't handle the truth. Open your eyes people. Don't be another corporate wage slave.
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Excellent movie, well worth the price of admission.
peter-3173216 September 2016
Very well made movie, very well acted, and directed.

Going in I was worried that the movie would turn into an action thriller or a love story that would cloud what really happened.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a step by step account of real events with a deep look at what goes on behind the scenes at the various spy agencies.

Personally I would have liked a little more time spent on the politicians (and other behind the scenes players) and how they acted before and after the Snowden revelations, but maybe that's a topic for another movie…

I would recommend this movie to anyone interested in modern history and geopolitics…
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Riveting! Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives an Oscar-worthy performance.
Ramascreen11 September 2016
The great director who's not afraid to tackle matters of war, conspiracy and controversial American political issues, has returned. Only this time, Oliver Stone has upgraded his latest film's look and tone to make it seem more digitally advanced, which is fine because it fits the story of Edward Snowden and we're living in this day and age where every millennial's favorite series happens to be "Mr. Robot." SNOWDEN, as you've guessed it, is a thriller about the whistleblower and former intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, played in this film by the talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt. "Divergent" star, Shailene Woodley plays his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, who stays by his side through his ordeals of working for the government due to his patriotism while at the same time feeling conflicted about how the government runs its methods in the name of national security. This film dramatizes the events that led Snowden to becoming one of the most wanted men in the world.

First, I have to give praises to Joseph Gordon-Levitt who I think went above and beyond in not only capturing Edward Snowden's mannerism and the way he speaks but my goodness, Gordon-Levitt's performance in this film is so calculating and precise, you can see his brains constantly work itself out, just by looking at him. And Shailene Woodley gives her most mature performance yet, because this film is more than just about the whole surveillance controversy, it's also about how that negatively affects Snowden & Mills relationship and I think it's fairly handled, both aspects don't take away or diminish each other's importance in the process.

When it comes to the film's dramatizing the U.S. and British global surveillance program, I'm sure there'll be questions as to how authentic the portrayal is, as far as the headquarters are concerned, for example, some may see it as a bit too much like a Bond villain's secret lair, but you'll be entertained by some of the visual effects that the film applies to showcase hacking and how one person can connect to another person and to another person and what's most fascinating about it is that there's a programmer watching the whole thing the entire time.

So SNOWDEN is essentially part conspiracy thriller, part relationship drama, and to a certain extent, part heist. Overall, I think it's a riveting film that keeps you engaged and more importantly gets you thinking, which I think is the goal of Oliver Stone's movies. Does the film lean one way in that it paints Edward Snowden as a hero? I think so, but not in a way that intentionally judges those who at the end still think of him as a traitor. SNOWDEN might cause audiences to become more paranoid or it might cause audiences to start supporting any effort to hold our government accountable. The jury's still out.

-- Rama's Screen --
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Watch this instead of, or along with, the documentary: Keep an open mind
cinswan29 March 2017
For those who don't like documentaries (the documentary about Snowden, which is part of this movie, is excellent education about what our government can do with us) watch this first. Oliver Stone paints a portrait of a stand-up, pretty much button down guy who realizes the work he falls into is anything but what he was taught was right -- and then he needs to find a way out, without endangering his girlfriend. Another great film about a whistleblower --- and for his whistleblowing, he faces far harsher penalties just for coming home. Oliver Stone delivers thought provoking film again, and the entire cast, as well as the writing, is stellar.

For those who made up their mind about Ed Snowden through what was reported in mass media, I would simply say, watch this with an open mind. What happened to him could happen to any of us. This is a cautionary tale based on true facts told in the most exquisite way by Stone and his cast.

Isabeau Vollhardt, author, The Casebook of Elisha Grey
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there's more than meets the eye
lee_eisenberg2 October 2016
In June, 2013, it came out that the National Security Agency had a massive espionage network in place. Within a few days, the source of the information revealed himself. Edward Snowden was a computer professional who had been working first for the CIA, and then switched to the NSA. Before long, his conscience started bothering him, and so he downloaded evidence of the espionage network, flew to Hong Kong, and revealed it to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, while director Laura Poitras filmed the interview. Without a doubt it was the biggest story of 2013.

This story got told in Poitras's Oscar-winning documentary "Citizenfour". Oliver Stone's "Snowden" tells the story, but also looks at the years leading up to Snowden's employment by the NSA: his military service, his stationing in Geneva, and then Japan, and finally his employment with the NSA outlet in Hawaii.

I don't know if I would go so far as to call this a masterpiece, but what's mind-blowing is the sheer scope of not just the espionage network, but everything else that it comprised. Without a doubt, the most important scene is the worldwide revelation of Snowden's leaks, and Snowden's subsequent flight to Russia, where he remains to this day.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a fine job as Snowden, as do Shailene Woodley as his lover Lindsay Mills. The rest of the cast includes Zachary Quinto (Spock in the "Star Trek" reboot) as Greenwald, Melissa Leo (Alice in "The Fighter") as Poitras, and an assortment of other people, including some surprise cast members.

All in all, I recommend the movie. Even though the viewer knows the plot, it's still a suspenseful story.
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New perspective on Snowden
nataliejobrien30 September 2016
This movie succeeds in padding out the personal dimension of the Edward Snowden story. Its focus is the impact of Snowden's highly secretive, demanding work on his home life – and particularly on his relationship with his girlfriend, Lindsay.

The Snowden story is so bloody interesting – which makes this film interesting, thought-provoking and definitely worth a watch. However, the script was a bit melodramatic at times and I did find myself wishing they had done a better job with the content.

If you're interested in Snowden generally, I would definitely recommend the documentary Citizenfour over this one. But if you've already seen it, then it's worth adding this one to your watch list.
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Oliver Stone Served his Country
theoryneutral13 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I have to save the 10/10 for those that deserve it and this one does.

I saw this at the opening in Toronto and came into it with a critical eye, having seen Citizen Four and having a good knowledge of the events that unfolded throughout the story recounted in this film.

Understandably, some weren't sure if all the shocking events in the film actually happened in the manner they were portrayed, so it's possible the public at large will never actually know just how accurate and important this film is. It all happened. And more. A lot of content didn't make it into the film but Stone's editing choices were sound.

Oliver Stone's faithfulness to the facts is astounding. Nothing was distorted or sacrificed for entertainment value. For a filmmaker to show this constraint is rare because it puts at risk the approval of a large portion of the audience. And it shows his true intent, even if Stone claims he was not trying to inspire activism.

Snowden Portrayal: Excellent acting, understated; that's Snowden.

Greenwald Portrayal: Brilliant acting, and sometimes I got the eerie feeling I was actually watching Greenwald, though the role was perhaps a little too emotional at times when the real Greenwald would have kept his composure.

On Laura Poitras actually being in the film: It was justice that Stone actually gave her character a role in the film, since Laura herself never does, and she deserves credit for what she has done. She risked her life many times over to bring us the facts in Citizen Four.

Oliver Stone served his country in making this film and by doing justice to the bravery of Snowden. Perhaps the world will be more inclined to care about what is taking place right in front of us once this film is available to all.
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Let's bring Snowden back home.
raycertx-864-95768419 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie as part of a small audience. Years ago, when the story was on the nightly news, Our USA news media had distorted the story so badly that I thought that Snowden was a spy. Now, I doubt that he was. There was a question asked of President Obama that made it clear for me. "Do you now consider Snowden to be a spy or a whistle blower?" I think this is a very Good movie. The small audience applauded at the end. It seems to be pretty clear that Snowden blew the whistle on "Big Brother". You should go to see this movie. Take some friends with you. There is very good dramatic acting. Good directing even though Oliver Stone does make it very dark. Snowden wanted to stop government spying on anyone. He would be a much better option for President than either of our current choices. I admit to being an Oliver Stone fan. His movies go into details that our news media ignores. Maybe we should try to get Snowden to come back so we can hear his version of what actually happened.
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SNOWDEN--Blowing The Whistle On Government Malfeasance, And Paying The Price
virek21320 September 2016
By far the biggest story of U.S. government malfeasance was uncovered in 2013, when a young man named Edward Snowden leaked out to the media and the world at large that his employers at the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, besides spying on other countries, and terrorist organizations around the world, were also spying on all the electronic communications of everybody in the United States itself. These revelations made him a man without a country, and a fugitive charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 for allegedly revealing classified information that compromised the security and the lives of U.S. surveillance agents all over the world. It also made him perhaps the most dangerous whistleblower of government overreach in history, or at least since Daniel Ellsberg. And unsurprisingly, it was Oliver Stone, the director best known for his critiques of American political behavior with PLATOON, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, JFK, and NIXON, who stepped into the breach of this, maybe the most important political story of our time, with SNOWDEN.

Based on Luke Harding's book "The Snowden Files" and Anatoly Kucherena's book "Time Of The Octopus", SNOWDEN stars Joseph Gordon-Leavitt as a young man who, both as an intellectual conservative and a patriot, worked his way up into the highest circles of the U.S. intelligence community during the first decade of the 21st century and the War On Terror, which involved less about stopping terrorism with military force but with the force of electronics and surveillance. This seems all good and fine to him, and he develops further programs to assist the intelligence community…until, as he looks up the data, twice as many communications have been monitored from within the U.S. itself as have been from even our most feared legitimate adversary, Russia. Much of the story is told in flashbacks and flash-forwards, as Gordon-Leavitt relates his story to documentary filmmaker Laura Poitros (Melissa Leo), journalist Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto), and journalist Ewan MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson) in a hotel in Hong Kong (later detailed by the real-life Laura Poitros in her Oscar-winning 2014 documentary CITIZENFOUR). We see how his life, especially with his girlfriend (Shailene Woodley) and his problems with epilepsy, comes unwound, and how he must go on the run after his revelations are published in the British newspaper The Guardian, which Greenwald and MacAskill worked for. He winds up at Moscow International Airport just a few days after his story hits the Internet in June 2013, and in exile, a fugitive from what passes for American justice in the 21st century.

Rather surprisingly, given his penchant for doing extremely controversial movies in his career, Stone was initially fairly reluctant to touch the Edward Snowden story in any way, shape, or form. But Kucherena (Snowden's real-life attorney in Russia) and Greenwald themselves convinced that it would be good for him to detail the story. Stone then agreed to do it, with Fitzgerald assisting him in the writing of the screenplay, and the result is one of the great films of 2016. Gordon-Leavitt is a near dead-ringer for the real-life Edward Snowden, who is seen at the end of the film detailing why he did what he did and why coming back to America would not result in his getting a fair trial. Although Stone had been well-known for doing films with quick-edged MTV-inspired montage sequences, including his notorious 1994 film NATURAL BORN KILLERS, he avoids doing much of that in SNOWDEN, instead concentrating on the inner workings of Snowden's work, and how much harm he may have been creating in the name of National Security, as opposed to merely keeping us "safe" from any more 9/11-type terrorism.

The subject matter that is broached by Stone in SNOWDEN, even with a relatively limited amount of violence and nudity (compared to other films of Stone's), is not easy to watch; nor is it necessarily easy to grasp in a lot of ways how the American people themselves, in the panic that followed September 11, 2001, basically acquiesced and allowed such mass surveillance to take place. Given the revelations in the early 1970s about Ellsberg's Pentagon Papers scandal, and those involving the FBI's Counterintelligence Program against anti-war protesters and civil rights activists, one might have thought that the people would have learned. But speaking truth against government power is a dangerous thing to do, and at the same time the right one; and SNOWDEN, its subject, and its maker, show it better than perhaps anyone else in Hollywood could ever do.
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Outstanding character building by Joseph Gordon-Levitt - even a bigger fan now!
Anaslair26 February 2017
I went to watch Snowden with someone who was extremely well informed about the subject while I sadly wasn't and while we had extremely different perspectives going into it, I believe it is safe to say both thought the movie was pretty darn awesome. From the former point of view, it appears some important things were left out, while I kept getting stuck on stuff like how does a guy who did not even finish high school and obviously really wants to make it in Special Forces turn out to be such a genius, only being self-taught.

The fact is the story enthralled me. Even if some things felt cheesy, especially the abuse of light surrounding the main character in key moments, the fact is due to such a strong issue and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's stellar performance (queue choir of angels – yes, I am biased towards this guy, sue me), this was indeed a memorable experience.

I mean, that guy obviously did such a brilliant character study. I cannot get past how he placed his voice. The facial expressions and ticks, the way he held himself, a lovely mixture of a fragile and strong young man with principles literally held me at the edge of my seat sometimes – I had to keep reminding myself to sit back.

Some things did throw me off besides what I mentioned above, such as the way he got the information out (the entire process just seemed oversimplified) – and really every single time he expressed his obviously dangerous points of view.

However, I had a terrific time watching this and I highly recommend it. Makes me want to watch the documentary, to find out what really happened and what is just in the movie.
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Reflection of my expectations
g-5559010 September 2016
Arguing about gender identity and racial issues completely misses the substance, the real issues of what happens when we let government expand it's powers under the pretext of terrorism, after a tragedy that shut down all thinking. Powered by genuine fear of terrorists created as a result of imperialistic and abusive foreign policy, the American public has ignored waste of tens of billions of tax-dollars that could've been spent on health care, infrastructure and education. Developed in secrecy, perfected on 'worthless' Muslims in Middle-East, everything from surveillance blimps to state-sponsored malware is now rapidly being deployed in homeland: US is being torn apart not just by racial issues, but by the ever increasing wealth gap, the scale of which according to a recent study, most American haven't even got a clear understanding of.

Privatized industry funded with tax-payer money without the *informed* consent of citizens has turned into legal theft. Snowden was part of that system, but in a unique way; He worked in a position where he saw far beyond the standard compartmentalization. He wasn't Alice developing metadata collection program. He wasn't Bob creating target automation. He wasn't Charlie building drones. He wasn't David confirming kills. He was Edward who saw NSA's SKYNET program, a real tool used to automate drone murders with surveillance metadata.

Saying it took guts to blow whistle on corruption within the world's largest intelligence establishment is a complete understatement.

While some people like Silas Davis here seem to think no large terrorist attacks must mean mass surveillance, works, The Intercept has done extensive reporting on how not only this is false, but that FBI has had to provide resources on troubled people just to get them arrested.

Privacy is a universal human right, but having to hand it away for the sake of security reduces it to a a mere privilege. What makes it even more ridiculous is the transparency in society has completely reversed it's state: Citizens are monitored to the point where gerrymandering strips their only power -- their vote. Meanwhile government the power of which is derived from the governed has secret court, secret laws and secret interpretations of these laws. In such situation "I have nothing to hide" is either badly placed trust or a coping mechanism.

The revelations by Snowden were made possible by decades long effort by the cypherpunk community, that has developed encryption tools from Tor-network to PGP-emails to OTR-instant messaging that Poitras, Greenwald and Snowden actually used to empower themselves during 2013. Citizenfour documentary honored these projects during credits.

Information security allowed by the law, and achieved with sophisticated technology is extremely important. Terrorism isn't the number one threat, cyber attacks are. The Snowden documents have revealed how NSA has injected back doors into hardware, bribed companies like RSA to use back doored random number generators, and weakened industry standards in an attempt to monitor everything. In reality they've made much easier for all cyber terrorists and foreign governments to hack vital systems that belong to government and companies, and that maintain the critical infrastructure.

How well the movie grasps over all this, we'll see soon. The 10 goes just for increasing the awareness. Meanwhile, I suggest the conversation be steered towards the real issues instead of feeding trolls.
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Well laid out movie.
subxerogravity18 September 2016
It's a great Oliver stone movie, seems right up his alley to do a film About a conspiracy and about questioning the government.

It's weird when people do movies about such recent events but hey that's how fast the media works these days.

It's a great ensemble cast as Stone tells the story of Edward Snowden who discovered that the government was spying on us weather we did anything wrong or not and decides to let us all know.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Snowden as a very likable guy, even if he was a Bush supporter, but most importantly he was a dude who loves his country and felt what they were doing to its citizens was wrong.

As Snowden, Levitt had the biggest chunk of screen time in a film filled with well know actors taking small, but important roles, like Zachary Quinto who played the guardian journalist chosen to tell Snowden's story and Nicolas Cage who's character acted like a mentor for Snowden's at the CIA.

Stone's fairness to the whole situation is painting a lovely portrait of the whistle blower himself
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A superb and thrilling biography
MihaiSorinToma28 January 2018
A young man by the name of Edward Snowden is about to tell the world deep secrets from his past jobs, when he secretly worked for CIA and NSA. Together with three experienced journalists, he's about to tell the story of his life, how it all started and how it managed to get so wrong in the end.

This movie, inspired from real facts, depicts the power of the American intelligence agencies which were spying on people in order to protect them from terrorist attacks, but it all got much deeper than intended. It's a very interesting movie, captivating I must say, which describes in detail the life of Snowden and what happened behind the scenes of the notorious intelligence agencies, who's programs were doing a lot more than invading privacy.

It's very well presented, alternating present and past events, very well played by its cast and very well executed overall. A must see for everyone, especially for IT fans.
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Classic, clean-cut film about a fascinating subject
rubenm5 November 2016
Edward Snowden is one of the most fascinating Americans alive, so it's no wonder his life has been made into a movie. After the documentary Citizenfour, it's already the second film featuring the famous whistle-blower. Citizenfour focused on the days Snowden spent in a hotel room in Hong Kong, where he invited two journalists who published the news about the massive surveillance of millions of people. Oliver Stone's new film takes a different approach and shows us Snowden's back story. His life is shown in flash backs from the hotel room scenes. What made him decide to basically give up his comfortable life and spend the rest of his days in exile? Stone shows how Snowden slowly changed from a patriotic army soldier into a concerned citizen. When he and his girlfriend Lindsay discuss the war in Iraq, shortly after they have met, they disagree. He defends the war, and ridicules Lindsay's liberal views and her participation in anti-war protests. She tells him: 'America is founded on the right to question our government'. Years later, he uses those exact words to explain and defend his whistle-blowing.

The relationship between Snowden and his girlfriend gets relatively much attention in the film. On the one hand because a love interest is always nice for a Hollywood film, but on the other hand also because it is important for the development of Snowden's mindset. His work for the NSA influences their relationship, not only because they have to live abroad, but also because it seems even Lindsay's e-mail and online conversations are being tracked and placed under surveillance. Is this the final straw that makes him decide to take bold actions?

What bothered me about the film is that it is a bit too clean-cut. The intelligence agencies are full of giant screens and slick technology, there are some romantic scenes, and the film looks overall very smooth. It's a rather classic biopic, without much cinematographic added value. For a subject as controversial as the NSA-leaks, and a for a film maker with a reputation such as Stone, that's a little bit disappointing.
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I think it might be Oliver Stone's best film yet
michaeljtrubic10 September 2016
I know he won best picture for platoon - which also was a serious endeavour - but its behind us.

Vietnam is over, Vietnam is done.

Snowden lives. Actually, Snowden escaped and survived.

He went to what might be the only place people can be protected from US government agencies. I would like to think all whistle blowers would have to do is cross into Canada but then Snowden would know. He was smart - he is smart.

I remember Bambi Bembenek. She blew a whistle too and made it to Canada. Poor thing.

This is a must see for all except those that don't care their protection set forth by the founders of the United States can be taken away by bullies, perhaps corrupted by limitless power of a new industrialized intelligence complex.

Masterful work by Oliver Stone.

Thanks for bringing it to Tiff.

Oliver, please ask for a theatre more appropriate for Q&A for Snowden 2.0
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The Snowden story, well told
Laakbaar15 January 2017
Oliver Stone is such a great director. He's succeeded once again in producing an interesting and sympathetic historical movie, this time about the Edward Snowden whistle-blowing story. His movies are so credible, so finely crafted, so watchable.

It is a pleasure to just sit back and let Stone show Snowden's story to you. I can't imagine anyone ever producing a Snowden movie that is better than this one. I felt the story was presented objectively and neutrally. Only near the end did the political aspect become a little too much. Yes, Stone is taking a pro-Snowden position and is trying to convince you that his position is right. If you are unable to emotionally handle that didactic aspect, don't see this movie.

Can I also talk about Joseph Gordon-Levitt? The man is clearly a great actor with enormous range. He's been in dozens of movies now, and his performances in each of them have been excellent. He really does capture Snowden in this movie. Kudos to him, Stone and everyone else involved in this film.
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A compelling watch that left me wanting more and more.
aarondeancallaghan8 August 2017
Well, I'm surprised. When I went to watch 'Snowden' I cant say I was expecting much, I expected it to be average at most, boy was I wrong. From the very first scene I found myself glued to the screen with vast amounts of interesting information, facts and fantastic acting and story line all spilling out at once.

Some reviews I had read beforehand seemed to state that the title was a little slow moving in parts, I cannot say I agree at all. I think, personally, if you commit yourself to the film and set all electronics and distractions aside, which I do, then you will not be able to take your eyes of the screen. There is no unnecessary scenes as such, each one has reason behind it and valuable information to keep your interest for the entire two hour running time. Its hard to believe some of the software that the NSA, CIA etc have at their fingertips and its hard to believe that this movie is based of solid facts. Some scenes will leave you in shock, trust me on that one.

As for the acting? Oscar Worthy. I find the actors get into character very very well and all credit to the star of the show, Joesph Gordon-Levitt, he does a fantastic job playing Snowden.

To summarise, this was a fantastic movie, one of the best I have watched in a long time and I certainly recommend it to those who have interest in current affairs and politics etc. Now this doesn't mean its a 'strictly political film', because its not. There is a fine balance between politics, drama and pure thrillerness, excuse my made up word lol.

Whether or not you believe what Snowden done was Patriotic or whether you believe he is a traitor is entirely up to you. Me? Well I think the guy has a huge set of B***s to do what he done. But don't let your personal opinion get in the way of you watching this title, because trust me its worth watching. Enjoy!
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Amazing film and this is coming from someone who may face the same fate
callumbrissett14 March 2017
I loved this yet I was already very aware of Snowden's actions. I do believe this was dumbed down a trickle but that is always the case with these kinds of Docos/Film/Series but that was quite minimal in this. My summery comes from being a hacker for 10+ years. I have worked high up in government sectors for cryptography, steganography, cyber warfare and much more. I have pending cases for the courts on my cyber espionage on the 13th of April 2017. I am not afraid... You are afraid is you lie or show immorality. What I released was to help the world and contains no degrees of deception so why be scared? I think this film really hit my soul as a hacktivist for so long, I found myself laughing and breaking down crying! Anyone who seeks freedom of information will love this. The message I always follow is People should never be afraid of their government... The government should shed fear from the people. Cicada 3301 ops signing out. Peace everyone!
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Potent and powerful ... and real.
wilderblue200518 January 2017
Once in a while there is a film that shows some courage to tell events of a true story ... Oliver Stone, is a director who continues to highlight the injustice of the American government and the lengths it goes to. Snowden is a hero and will be remembered as such, when those who tried to tarnish him for speaking the truth, will have their legacy crumble.

The man is a hero.

I recently watched "American Sniper" and was blown away by the 'patriotism' bullshit propaganda that was almost on par with the the nazi propaganda scenes from Tarantino's "Inglorious Bastards".

This however, is relevant, important to us all ... and above all ... continues to happen, without our permission or knowledge.

I urge people to watch the film.
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One of the most important movies of the year, and rightfully so.
huntersmithx3 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
In this politically heated year of 2016, the release of two films give voice to American heroes-13 Hours, Michael Bay's film about the battle of Benghazi; and Snowden, about controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden who is currently a fugitive in hiding. I am proud to say that Oliver Stone, of Platoon and JFK fame, delivers justice to the story; and it's one of the best movies of 2016.

Joseph Gordon Levitt portrays Edward Snowden. In two or three scenes; Snowden is strapped to a high tech lie detector, he is asked the question "Is America the greatest country in the world?" to which he replies yes. This is what drives Edward throughout the movie, as he transitions from Special Forces dropout to CIA computer analyst. He works on various assignments across the country and learns the means that the Government uses to intrude on the privacy of the American people. He also has a relationship with Lindsay Mills; who loves social media but is also affected and disturbed by Edward's paranoia and resentment towards the Government. She's also the most static character in the film, and she should've been given closure considering her real life counterpart is standing by Snowden today.

The ending is spectacular and delivers it's message without being overly sentimental. All the important characters are relevant and brilliantly acted by the likes of Rhys Ifans, Nicolas Cage, Tom Wilkinson, Zachary Quinto, etc. The film features excellent cinematography with good use of color schemes in various scenes to make it's universe feel like our own.

Snowden is a thrilling and entertaining Drama that is crucially important for people living in America today. Always questioning authority, and standing up for what's right.

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Gordon-Levitt excellent as Snowden
harry_tk_yung9 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
One critic refers to a new subgenre when reviewing "Snowden" – a movie about very recent historic events. In this film, in particular, the protagonist's face is very familiar to the general public, even those who have not seen the topnotch documentary, Oscar-winner "Citizenfour". I have. And I have also watched most of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's major work (too many to list). Watching this talented actor's portrayal, I came to believe that I was actually watching the real Edward Snowden. At the concluding scene of the monumental Moscow interview, when the camera deftly superimposed the real Snowden while fading out Gordon-Levitt, I hardly even noticed. That is how good he is!

"Citizenfour" came entirely from the camera of Laura Poitras (who never appears herself in the film, except for her voice) recording the interview Snowden had in a hotel room with two other media veterans Glenn Greenwood and Ewen MacAskill. Oliver Stone's "Snowden", anchoring on that interview to which he allocates less than one third of screen time, uses flashbacks to cover two other aspects of this "astonishing" (Ewen MacAskill's parting words) young man – career and romance. Everyone knows that the key controversy here is "whistleblower" vs "traitor". In his film, Stone is telling the story as Snowden would have liked to tell it. Personally I have no problem with that. Anybody who wishes can make another movie of Snowden, portrayed as a criminal.

The earliest flashback is brief, showing Snowden's grueling military training that ends abruptly with discharge due to physical disability. While he can still walk normally after an accident, landing with a parachute will definitely result in breaking his leg again. The next segments show his early CIA days where his brilliance is perceived quite differently by two mentors, both fictional characters. Right-wings to his bones, Corbin O'Brian (Rhys Ifans, brilliant, scene-stealing) greets his class by telling them in no uncertain terms that if 911 happens again, it is their fault. He recognizes in Snowden the best student he has ever had as well as an immensely valuable asset to beefing up security. Hanks Forrester (Nicholas Cage, unimposing but scene-stealing in a different way) is fully sympathetic to this exceptionally talented young man who unfortunately, in his innocence, will eventually be disillusioned by the ruthless, unprincipled organization he is stuck with.

The romance story has been given considerable screen time, but handled in a low-key manner, which is the way it should be. This sequence is needed to build a three-dimensional character of the man Snowden, not just whistleblower Snowden. Even more importantly, it underscores the sacrifice Snowden has made. All he wants is a simple life with someone he loves and loves him. But on top of that, he also has affluence and lives in paradise (i.e. Hawaii). Shailene Woodley plays Lindsay Mills lovingly, a girl who clearly is nobody's fool but is also supportive when there are reasons to be. One subtext, likely unintentional, is the reflection of an ever-present dilemma that when respective careers dictate different locations for a couple, one has to concede if they want to stay together. In this story, he initially declines Hawaii because of her, but she eventually goes with him because the climate, she believes, will be helpful in his health problem (epileptic seizure).

While it is a gradual process for Snowden to see the "big brother" in CIA, it is in Hawaii where his promotion has given him access to the state-of-the-art surveillance technology that he makes that final decision to blow the whistle. Also interesting is the scene of a leisurely after-work beach barbecue gathering. A colleague, almost nonchalantly, tells how he witnessed a kid winding up being collateral damage in one of these routine surveillance operations. That immediately reminds me of the movie "Eye in the sky".

Probably recognizing that many in the audience would have seen "Citizenfour", director Stone wisely keeps the hotel room interview scenes low key and as faithful to the original as possible. The excellent cast helps, with Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto and Tom Wilkinson playing Poitras, Greenwald and MacAskill respectively (remember though that Poitras does not appear at all on the screen of "Citizenfour"). "Snowden" is even less of a thriller than "Citizenfour". The only scene of acute conflict is Greenwald's confrontation, in teleconference mode, with The Guardian's editor in London, Janine Gibson, giving her an ultimatum on the time of publishing. Gibson, incidentally, is played by Joely Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave's daughter. As mentioned in the summary line, Gordon-Levitt turns in an excellent portrayal of the Edward Snowden that we have seen on screen, low-key, level-headed, passionate in an unassuming way. It is the image of the real Snowden, again as mentioned, that brings to conclusion this superb film that is not intended to inflame or shock you, but rather to "bother" (quoting from the critic) you, and make you think.
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"I Support Online Rights"
anaceciliapcruz9 January 2017
"I support online rights" – it's the sentence glued to Edward's Snowden laptop cover. Although it's only seen near to the final scene, it's the core, the driving force, the backbone of all film and Snowden real life choices. As we know, every choice come with a consequence either positive or negative. However the citizen had to be forced to go out of his birth country, he never lost his hope and motivation to show the world, the modern society that we should fight for our rights, even those which are sometimes disrespected by our own government entities. The conduction of the narration and scene sequence were very well thought, and made the general public understand every step of Snowden, and what sort of reality he needed to deal. It's also to be praised the courage and bravery that he had to put himself and his family in danger, but first of all the incredible idea of hiding a memory card in a Rubik's Cube.
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It's beyond Awesome word....
sanjays18324 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Great work by whole team of Snowden. There efforts paid off and i hope what they want to show, exactly that have been shown. This is the first time i am writing a review for a movie. It's worth to write a review for a guy who has put lot of efforts and still fighting for it. Yep it's sad to see getting mixed reviews. I can't comment on public review as everyone has there own perception and own thinking, how they look movie. I look every particular scene and i take all positive things. I loved the role played by Joseph and he has nailed it. Thanks all for putting lot of efforts and making such a nice movie inspired by true events.
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Applauding loudly
v-ley2 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I haven't seen too many movies that have educated me in a way that I am forever changed, but this movie and this young man, did it! I won't call him a hero because others should be standing right beside him who make those life and death decisions daily and haven't. I've always questioned the power/greed and need of our Government to insist on & what they unrightfully just take. Thank you for having the balls Snowden that too many Politician's lack, men and women. This movie will stay with me for a very long time and I have made some serious changes and written several letters to my Counsilman. Wonderfully written, acted and portrayed.
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Misrepresentation of Edward Snowden Takes Away From the Real Story
gabrieltaitmusic13 October 2016
Let me preface this by saying that the film cinematically was good. However, my criticisms regard the impact of the film in relation to the true events that took place, and the real Edward Snowden.

The main character in the movie 'Snowden' was a dishonest and grossly false representation of the real Edward Snowden. Oliver Stone portrays him as this hot shot genius big-wig within the NSA and CIA when the truth is that Edward Snowden was really a mid-level intelligence analyst. I thought that took a lot away from the real story, being that Edward Snowden was one of many ordinary government employees and what made him different is that he had the courage of his convictions to speak up and become a whistle-blower when he saw that our government was acting against the democratic principles for which this country was founded upon.

The real Edward Snowden shows us that even everyday Americans can become true patriotic heroes by speaking up when they see something they know is wrong. It is clear and obvious that the programs he revealed that ARE STILL BEING USED TODAY are completely prohibited by the 4th Amendment.
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