By Preman Koshar || Arts & Entertainment Editor
Snowden, as you might imagine, is a film that, above all, makes a statement. It is definitively political in a way that blockbusters rarely are—in that way, it is surprisingly bold and unique. Snowden, as you might have guessed, largely tells the life story of Edward Snowden, the man who released a lot of classified documents from the U. S. government stating that the U. S. was spying and collecting massive amounts of data on other countries and its own people. This was met with charges of espionage by the government, and by charges of heroism by the press. Snowden unflinchingly picks a side in this debate, while valiantly attempting to show that, in the real world, very little is black and white.
From an objective view, however, Snowden’s cinematography is only a little above average. There were a few nice shots here and there, one or two nice panoramas or angles, but nothing at all distinctive or spectacular. The cinematography, at least, did not distract the viewer, as it simply faded into the background and was quickly forgotten. The score in Snowden ended up much the same way—not bad, when it was noticed, but those few moments of distinction were far and few between. Snowden can claim that synthesis is one of its virtues, but I think that, at some point, that comes at a cost to uniqueness. The acting was above average, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing a fine job as a noble and intelligent, yet surprisingly emotionally thick Edward Snowden. Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend also communicated her emotions clearly, but somehow I had trouble sympathizing with her. To be honest, they were both terrible at being in a relationship. The plot was intriguing, though predictable, as it was largely a nonfiction tale, and carried a decent amount of momentum all the way through. The frequency of flashbacks, however, was annoying. That is one plot device that I wouldn’t mind seeing the death of. The dialogue was also reasonably well done, though, again, not all that distinctive. It was largely utilitarian, and did not go out of its way to deepen many scenes. It got the job done and moved on, which made for a lively plot, but unsympathetic characters.
In the end, Snowden tells a powerful story and conveys an even more powerful message: that information is control, and the government has metric tons of it on each and every one of us. It is harrowing message, and, at the same time, a call to arms. Not much has changed since Snowden released his documents, and it is up to us to decide if our security is really worth a lack of true privacy.
Preman Koshar is the Arts & Entertainment Editor. His email is email@example.com.