Courtesy of Open Road Films

Snowden was in the Army prior to joining the CIA and NSA.

As a biographical thriller, “Snowden” had great story telling that depicted how Edward Snowden, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, released the information about the NSA wiretapping and spying. That’s about it though.

The great cinematography, where the shots were visually pleasing and the scenes were in high quality, were few and far between. Many scenes felt like they dragged the story, though the scenes of intense build were just that: intense.

The film utilizes footage of (the real) Snowden being interviewed as well, which is what gave the story most of it’s context. It broke down a very complicated story into a simple “right vs wrong” that highlighted the key moments that transpired in Snowden’s life in the past ten years, condensed into a two hour movie. Obviously the events portrayed are complex issues that require more than two hours of screen time to explain, but the film could have handled it a bit better.

Unfortunately those two hours tended to feel like an eternity, due to the dragging shots.

The movie portrayed Snowden as a very patriotic person before he joined the CIA and NSA, a man that just wanted to serve his country, and do all he could do with his intelligence. It showed the struggle he went through deciding what he should do to with the information he had on our government.

The movie came out at an interesting point in time, with Snowden still living in Moscow. But the public opinion of him has changed, as people think of what was called espionage and see it now as a whistle blower who shined a light into a dark place.

The biggest problem with the movie, though, aside from the cinematic hiccups that usually plague biopics, is the over dramatization of what he did.

The film makes
him a hero, but he did steal information from the government. Spying aside, there were also national security secrets and information on our nations defense lumped into the information he had. While it is clear vilifying Snowden is wrong, defying him could be worse. Two bad sides of the same coin.

“Snowden” was an interesting movie and is worth seeing for what it is, a black and white rendition of a rainbow, but it wouldn’t hurt to wait for the DVD first.