In Snowden, there is little of the man behind the machine

Monumental Pictures

Despite being a fixture of mainstream news since 2013, who is Edward Snowden? What did he actually do? It’s a question buried in computer jargon and keyboard clicking, detached and static actions that only serve to complicate the conundrum more. It’s one that isn’t solved by Snowden, a rote telling of the events of the ten years before Snowden (played here by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) leaked US government documents alleging extreme invasions of privacy. Laura Poitras offered the documentary version with her Oscar winning Citizenfour in 2014, a film that had all the rage-inducing immediacy that Oliver Stone attempts in Snowden, a call to arms on government surveillance that ultimately falls on uncaring ears.

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