‘Snowden’: Film Review | TIFF 2016

Joseph Gordon-Levitt heads an all-star cast in Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden,’ a version of the life of controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Oliver Stone has rarely been known for reticence and restraint, but the big problem with Snowden, his rendering of the story of whistleblower Edward Snowden, is that it’s earnest, decorous and — dare we say — a tad dull. Of course Snowden’s story is by now pretty familiar from news reportage and from Laura Poitras’ Oscar-winning documentary, Citizenfour. Even an award-winning documentary is only seen by a relatively small number of people, so there’s an argument to be made for dramatizing the story with expensive production values and well-known actors portraying the characters. Although Snowden has been vindicated in many quarters, he’s still controversial to some, and the technical universe he inhabited is slightly impenetrable to admirers and detractors alike. So it’s hard to imagine hordes of people rushing to see his story onscreen again, especially when told in such a hushed and bloodless manner.

The Bottom Line

Flat biopic of the famous whistleblower.

RELEASE DATE Sep 16, 2016