(US/France/Germany - 2016)
Directed by Oliver Stone. Written by Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Nicolas Cage, Rhys Ifans, Scott Eastwood, Logan Marshall-Green, Timothy Olyphant, Ben Schnetzer, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Joely Richardson, Ben Chaplin, Nicholas Rowe, Basker Patel, Edward Snowden. (R, 134 mins)
It would be nice if Oscar-winning filmmaker and tinfoil-hat fashionista Oliver Stone was back in provocateur mode with SNOWDEN, but the message is lost in the auteur's didactic execution. Told with myopic tunnelvision and with nothing but gushing admiration for its subject, SNOWDEN lumbers along with little in the way of nuance or subtlety, and nothing in the way of questioning the ex-CIA/NSA whistleblower. It's canonizing hagiography of the most one-sided order, with Edward Snowden the sole voice of morality in a world of evil big government surveillance that exists only to piss on the freedoms of Americans and can't possibly have any positive purpose whatsoever. This should be a nailbiting thriller but Stone is so distracted by his Snowden man-crush that it never has a chance to reach the heights of his in-his-prime conspiracy/paranoia triumphs like JFK or NIXON. It's more in line with the hokey, neutered simplicity of something like WORLD TRADE CENTER. Snowden is a complex, complicated figure, but you wouldn't know it by watching SNOWDEN. Stone isn't interesting in getting in Snowden's head, so you're better off checking out Laura Poitras' Oscar-winning 2014 Snowden documentary CITIZENFOUR instead.