Review – Snowden (2016)

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the-snowden-files-57f347ada1487Throughout my experience with jobs, they’ve almost always held an “open door” policy if you wanted to be a “whistleblower”, or as others would call you, a “rat”. It was a place where you could freely complain about your concerns of the workplace. However, even then, the open door in question was more of a legal thing while no one really took it seriously. Asking questions was appreciated, but only if you asked the right question. As Americans, and perhaps any other nation, pride cometh before a fall. We don’t know everything…we just know what the government finds safe enough to tell us. If we question it, we’re suddenly categorized under the paranoid and disillusioned. But there’s more to this world than what’s readily accessible. The story of Edward Snowden has been spoken about for years, and I was just waiting to see Snowden to really familiarize myself with the story. So let’s get into it.

Disillusioned with the intelligence community, top contractor Edward Snowden leaves his job at the National Security Agency. He now knows that a virtual mountain of data is being assembled to track all forms of digital communication — not just from foreign governments and terrorist groups, but from ordinary Americans. When Snowden decides to leak this classified information, he becomes a traitor to some, a hero to others and a fugitive from the law. (IMDb)

The real question here is…should whistleblowers be treated as individuals committing treason?  The voice of this film is clear and direct – that there is a problem with this government. It’s more powerful than anyone could ever imagine, but not so much to really surprise us. What’s surprising is that they can and certainly do spy on everyone, not just possible terrorists. Through the six degrees of separation, or in this case…like four, the NSA is keeping tabs on everyone, and when Snowden figures this all out, he begins to prepare to unveil everything.

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When I was a kid, my mom would watch television, and when she was done with that, she’d cover the monitor with a blanket, fearful of who might be watching beyond the screen. If that weren’t enough, she’d lock her bedroom door, turn off the lights, and change in her personal bathroom which was about the size of an airplane bathroom. She’s not crazy, either. We live in a constant fear of the unknown. We’re paranoid people that keep coming up with conspiracy theories on a day-by-day basis. While the government might think holding back info is saving us from panicking, I think we panic more under secrecy. We just want the truth, and this story proves to provide a little bit of that truth.

As far as filmmaking goes, I think this film does a great job making things look authentic. That goes for acting, but it also goes for the technology used. Often in technology-centric films like this, they use a futuristic computer program that you’ve never seen before in real life. This was clearly just Windows, which I was thankful for. It was also spot-on with its suspense. This is a real story that didn’t really need anything added to it in order to be a good movie, so I’m glad this just told it how it was.

At the same time, I sometimes have issues with true stories because the reality of the world is sometimes boring. I wouldn’t necessarily call this film boring, but I would say the way it decides to film some of its scenes could have technically been done in a better, more fascinating way. This also isn’t first time we’ve seen movies about the government spying on people. You’ve seen it in Eagle Eye, in The Echelon Conspiracy, heck, even in The Matrix. It’s not an unfamiliar idea – but this is the most realistic interpretation of it.

Overall, Snowden is a very well-done film that takes a topic that can be seen as overdone and revamps it with a hint of reality to improve on the seriousness of the concept. Good movie, you should definitely check it out!

RATING: 8.9/10

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