Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July and Wall Street) directs the true story based on the life of whistle blower Edward Snowden, a CIA contractor who leaked sensitive material belonging to the National Security Agency.

Snowden opens in a hotel room in Hong Kong where filmmaker Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and journalist Glen Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) are meeting to interview Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

Recounting his life story in flashback, his story begins in 2004 when as a 21 year old he enrols in the US Army. His intention is to join the Special Forces but his ambition is cut short after he breaks a leg at training camp. Unfit for front line duties he decides that he will put his computer knowledge to good use and he joins the CIAs’ cyber warfare programme. Snowden’s talents are quickly identified and after impressing CIA director Corbin O’Brian (Rhys Jones), he finds that he’s suddenly fast tracked to the top. His security clearance gives him access to various government programs, one such programs allows the government to spy on citizens via their own mobile phones and computers, another allows the US government to plant malware into systems controlling their allies infrastructure, the program being designed to become active should the relationship between the countries turn sour.

Feeling that the government have went beyond what is ethical Snowden’s conscience then starts to bother him and he sets about passing the information that he’s gleaned to the world media.

The more that Snowden learns about his government the more and more paranoid he becomes, the only voice of reason in his life being his long term partner, Lindsay Mills (Shallene Woodley).

Snowden might sound like a dry subject, however thanks to Stone’s steady hand it turns out to be a terrific thriller. As is the way with his films Stone manages to populate Snowden with a fantastic cast, Nicholas Cage fleetingly appears as a CIA boffin and Tom Wilkinson pops up as a British journalist.

Stone never takes sides and pretty much leaves it up to the audience to decide whether Snowden was justified in what he did.


Snowden (15)

2h 14m

Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, Nicolas Cage

UK Release: Friday 9th December 2016

Snowden: "Aptitude Test" Clip
Snowden: "How Is This Possible" Clip