Spy. Genius. Hacker. Traitor are just a few of the names associated with former NSA computer specialist Edward Snowden.
At 29 years old, Snowden released NSA and FISA files stolen from their database and caused a global panic. The judgements against him were harsh at best and even worse for his girlfriend Lindsay Mills.
So unless you have been under a rock, let me break this down for you. Edward Snowden was a young soldier when a debilitating leg injury forced him into a medical discharge. Enter the CIA. Snowden was sought out, trained and eventually placed in Quantico as a recruit. Ultimately, not being pleased with the method in which our government was violating rights spelled out in our Constitution to justify "spying" via cell phones, computers and virtually anything containing a digital footprint, he blew the whistle setting off one of the biggest scandals in US history regarding a simple thing called privacy.
According to Snowden, who was streamed in live from Moscow a few nights ago, "Privacy is about something to protect...Privacy is the right of self...Privacy is the fountainhead of ALL other rights. Without privacy you don't have anything for yourself. Saying you don't care about privacy is like saying you don't care about freedom of speech."
Directed by Oliver Stone, who seems to be attracted to political, historical and controversial subject matter, Snowden is approached from a humanistic point of view. Often times in these types of situations, we forget that at the end of the day, the accused, the ridiculed and outcast are still human beings with relationships. It is the adversity of these relationships, as well as, the cost of holding secrets that Stone spells out for the audience through the brilliant performances of Joseph Gordon Levitt and Shailene Woodley.
Levitt really put it all on the line for this one...literally. He traveled to Moscow to visit and study Ed Snowden and it paid off. Under the radar and often overlooked, this former television child actor is giving a performance that is so nuanced that you forget he's acting and believe you are watching the real deal. As I said many times when speaking about performances, it is the dialogue not spoken that is intriguing and interesting to watch. Joseph Gordon Levitt is mesmerizing, believable and dead-on. I thought he was great in "The Walk", but that performance pales in comparison to Snowden.
Seen as the star of "Divergent" film franchise, Shailene Woodley is really pulling it all the way down for Lindsay. Her subtle and passion filled performance is marvelous to behold. She embraces Lindsay with every fiber of her being making her empathetic, sympathetic and a free-spirited woman whose strength is beyond measure when it comes to loving and being loved.
The real Ed Snowden even dropped this little kernel about an app called Signal, which uses an advanced end to end encryption protocol that provides privacy for EVERY message EVERY time. It uses your existing phone number and address book. There are no separate logins, usernames, passwords or PIN's to manage or lose.
Yes, Ed Snowden broke the law. Yes, he is a fugitive. Yes, he is ridiculously brilliant and Yes, he believes that one's privacy is a right not a privilege.
My jaw dropped open more times than I care to remember during the course of this film. Mostly due to major education received by the Ed Snowden portrayed onscreen and the real Snowden streaming live.
Trust me, this one is well worth the price...Snowden opens nationwide TODAY!