Snowden paints detailed picture of NSA scandal


Oliver Stone’s latest movie does a great job of portraying the life of Edward Snowden leading up to and during his decision to leak information about the National Security Administration’s secret mass surveillance programs. Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a great performance as Snowden, along with Shailene Woodley, who plays his girlfriend Lindsay Mills.

The movie begins with Snowden going through army training when he breaks both of his legs in a fall. His injuries prevent him from joining the army, so he searches for other ways to serve his country. He is recruited by the CIA, and it quickly becomes clear that he has extraordinary talent in technology. As he continues to advance through the ranks of the government, he finds out more and more about the government’s ability to spy on and control citizens. After resigning from the CIA, he is recruited by the NSA and is given even more control and information about the government’s power. His job is so stressful and demanding that he even risks his life by foregoing his epilepsy medication because it makes him less efficient. After finally coming to a breaking point, he sends classified information about NSA programs to journalists from news website The Guardian. After evading authorities in Hong Kong, he escapes on a flight to Russia, where he currently lives.

The characters have lots of depth, and there are several impactful scenes which really convey the gravity of what was happening. It shows how, in some people’s opinion, the rights of citizens were disregarded in the name of security. However, the viewer’s political views could change the way they feel about the movie, where Snowden’s actions are shown as a public service. My only complaint about the movie would be that at some points the plot seems forced and unnecessary. Despite this, the movie still delivers a powerful message of the value of privacy.