Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Snowden movie will make you wonder how much privacy you really have

Movie Title:   Snowden            

Grade:  B

Rating:  R, 134 minutes

In a Nutshell:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a solid, thought-provoking performance in this controversial Oliver Stone biopic of an equally controversial man who affected how we view national security and personal privacy today.  Was Edward Snowden a hero or hacker?

If you don’t know much about Edward Snowden, this film will give you some background, as well as a fairly slanted view.

Uplifting theme: 
  •  “The internet is technology that has the power to help everyone in the world understand each other.” – Snowden
  • “One man can stop the motor of the world.” – Ayn Rand
  • “I’m questioning our government.  That’s what we do in this country. That is the principle we’re founded on.” – Lindsay
  • “Sometimes the more you look, the less you see.” - Hank Forrester
  • What is justifiable for the greater good?
  • Edward and Lindsay visit a Theodore Roosevelt memorial where this quote is etched, “A man’s usefulness depends upon his living up to his ideals in so far as he can. It’s hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.  All daring and courage, all iron endurance of misfortune make for a finer, nobler type of manhood.” 

Things I liked:
  • It’s a fascinating look at Edward Snowden’s life as it moves from being in the military to being recruited into secretive government agencies.  Laura Poitras won an Oscar for her 2014 documentary “Citizenfour”, which has been touted as being more straightforward, while Oliver Stone’s film has a softer touch, designed to inspire.
  • It will make you think twice before you click on the terms and policy agreement of web sites and cell phones services. 
  • You’ll probably put a small piece of paper on your computer web camera.
  • You get to see video footage of the real Edward Snowden at the end, as well as some photographs of him and Lindsay.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt nails Edward Snowden's voice and physical characteristics.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Some good actors play very small roles, such as Shailene Woodley, Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Timothy Olyphant, and Zachary Quinto.
  • Oliver Stone paints a picture of an idealistic hero without any flaws.
  • It’s truly frightening what is being tracked by many of the governments in the world and the power they have over our lives.
  • Oliver Stone sets patriotic music to the moment when Snowden betrays his country and leaks classified information to the press, an interesting choice for reflecting on the First Amendment.
The real Edward Snowden said about this trailer, "For two minutes and thirty-nine seconds, everybody at NSA just stopped working."

Interesting lines:
  • “Bombs don’t stop terrorists; only brains will and we don’t have millions of them.” – Corban O’Brian
  • “Where is your sin of choice?” – Hank Forrester
  • “Ah, computers.” - Snowden
 Well then, Snowden.  You’ve come to the right little whorehouse.” – Hank Forrester
  • “No matter what justification you’re selling yourself, this is not about terrorism.  Terrorism is the excuse.  This is about economic and social control.  And the only thing you’re really protecting is the supremacy of your government.” – Snowden

Funny lines:
  • “Why do you want to join the CIA Corban O’Brian
“Ah, frankly, Sir, it sounds really cool to have top security clearance.” – Snowden
  • In the movie, Snowden is asked about influences on his life.  He answers, “I’d say Joseph Campbell, Star Wars, Thoreau, Ayn Rand.”

Tips for parents:   

  • Several F-bombs and other profanity.
  • This movie is Rated R, because of the F-bombs and scenes with a lady in her underwear, topless photos on a computer screen, and an “exotic” dancer on a pole.
  • Nudity during a pretty graphic sex scene.
  • Snowden is shown having epileptic seizures.
  • Two people shoot birds with hunting rifles.
  • Social drinking and smoking.
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