Snowden (2016) | bluray release
Dir.: Oliver Stone; Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Nicolas Cage, Rhys Ifans, Ben Schnetzer; France/Germany/USA 29016, 134 min.
Four years after Savages Oliver Stone is back with a dry and cliché-ridden drama, wasting a budget of 40 million dollars and a good cast. His Snowdon is a limp portrait of the troubled whistle blower, whose conscious finally won over his patriotism.
The story kicks off in Hong Kong’s Mira hotel, where journalists from the Guardian and the filmmaker Laura Poitras (Leo) interview Snowden (Gordon-Levitt), and intervened with his bio, starting in 2004, when he failed an attempt to join the Special Forces after breaking both legs. SNOWDEN never gathers enough pace to capture our attention. Gordon-Levitt does his best to portrait the introvert spy, who never finished college and joined the CIA as a reaction to 9/11. Girlfriend Mills (Woodley), a photographer, is, like many of Stone’s woman protagonists, dreadfully under-written, and is not much more than a cypher. Nicholas Cage as Forrester, a disillusioned CIA boffin; and Rhys Ifans’ O’Brien, a calculating CIA officer, also fail to spark any fire: they are just there to bring the plot forward. Only Snowdon’s CIA collegeaque Gabriel Sol (Schnetzer) is allowed an off-beat humour, whilst showing off the newest CIA surveillance programme – which is so frightening, you’d expect any decent person witnessing it to go public immediately.
In defence of Stone, it can be said that SNOWDEN’s thought process is not easily transformed into images, but the lack of pace is surprising: usually there is more than one male Ego causing havoc in any Stone film, and sometimes ruining it with overkill. But Snowden, in spite of its atmosphere of (pseudo) suspense, is deadly insipid. Everybody has their place, and since we all know the outcome, it just feels like we are just going through the motions, any coherence or engagement lacking. Simply, SNOWDEN is a waste of time and money: Laura Poitras’ documentary CITIZENFOUR has said it all, confirming that we do not need Hollywood blockbusters to bore us with banal scripts and overblown production values. AS
ON SKY AND ITUNES 31 MARCH 2017 | DVD AND BLURAY FROM 3 APRIL 2017