About the Film
What drives a prominent director like Oliver Stone to bring the story of programmer and information analyst Edward Snowden back to the screen after it had been thoroughly recorded by other directors, including Laura Poitras in her Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour Definitely his constant passion for controversial, influential characters, such as JFK, George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Fidel Castro, and Vladimir Putin, all of whom he’d made films about before.
The story of Snowden’s shocking leaks and his flight from the United States may have been widely documented, yet none of its previous screen renditions exposed us to the normal young man whose strong national sentiment drove him to work with the United States’ scariest, most secretive agencies. Stone, meanwhile, shows us a Snowden of flesh and blood, who, despite his indisputable genius, is often impulsive and naïf. It is in fact his rashness that leads him into the labyrinthine institution that is the CIA, only for him to discover a bottomless well of politician-protected lies.
Stone delves into an emotionally vulnerable side of Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) that we have not witnessed in documentaries dealing with the former CIA employee’s life. With adequate sensitivity, he portrays the life of a man who risks everything for a truth that had long been kept hidden, well-guarded by political and intelligence agencies who were genuinely shocked the day their global surveillance techniques were uncovered. In Snowden, Stone ultimately questions the meaning of “patriotism.” Would
a person who bravely speaks the truth and calls out violations, still be considered a patriot if his actions cross his country’s most powerful institutions?
Born in New York in 1946. Many of Oliver Stone, works, including his trilogy on the American Presidency: JFK (1991), Nixon (1995), and W. (2008), were considerably controversial at the time of their release. In 1976, he volunteered to fight in the Vietnam war, which drastically affected his perception of war, and drove him to make some of his most important films, including Platoon (1986), Born on the Fourth of July (1989) and Heaven & Earth (1993). He also uncovered atrocities committed by the CIA in films like Salvador (1986) and Snowden (2016). Stone is the winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Director.