Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the interesting, but fumbled, ‘Snowden’

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By Adam Schalke, Staff Reporter

Three years ago, Edward Snowden made public classified information regarding the surveillance activities of the National Security Administration. The aftermath of his actions included short-lived debates on government surveillance and the cost of freedom at the expense of security, as well as a major motion picture that was released earlier this month.

The film itself is a pretty straightforward biopic about Edward Snowden’s time as a contractor for the federal government and the revelation of the NSA’s programs that caused him to spill its secrets and become a fugitive. That makes it either a strong endorsement for those interested in political thrillers and dramas, or a warning to avoid for those uninterested in such genres.

Despite his dissimilar appearance to the title character, Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job portraying Snowden, particularly capturing his convictions and strong sense of civic duty that pushes him to reveal what’s happening behind closed doors.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for his co-star, Shailene Woodley. Woodley’s performance as Snowden’s partner Lindsay Mills comes across as not only bland, but somewhat of an unnecessary embellishment that’s perhaps intended to help humanize Snowden.

In a nutshell, “Snowden” feels as if it were made for the true believers of Snowden’s cause, which is a treat for them, but largely irrelevant to other parties. If one has very strong opinions against warrantless surveillance and government authority, this film is for them, if not, then there are other films in the cineplex to watch.

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