Snowden Movie Review: 4 / 5 stars
Snowden is a movie that I’ve been looking forward to watch for a while. You see, I’ve have been following the news of Edward Snowden rather closely (following the technical, legal, and political sides) and I still enjoy watching this movie and its suspense. It managed to add human sides to Snowden and especially his girl friend Lindsay Mills. (more on Lindsay on Buzzfeed, VF)
Snowden LIVE Event Review: 4 / 5 stars for content, 2 / 5 stars for audio quality and other technical qualities
The casts and director shared some insightful exchange during the “LIVE” event. The audio quality was awful at places and the organizer should and could have done a much better job. Further more, this “LIVE” event was recorded “LIVE” earlier in the day so it should have been advertised as “LIVE” with a “*” explaining it is not “LIVE” except in certain region of the country (New York? EST).
And here is an insightful & must read IndieWire interview of Oliver Stone by Anne Thompson: “Oliver Stone Interview: Why ‘Snowden’ Is His Answer to American Bullies – Oliver Stone and Edward Snowden are willing to buck the powers that be to get what they want to say to the public.”
“[Q] Who approached you on the project?
I was going to Moscow at the invitation of Snowden’s lawyer [Anatoly Kucherena]. He had written a book. In January 2014, I met him and Snowden. I was wary; he was wary, too. By May I had made three visits. I made nine in total; we’d agreed to make a film, because he was cooperating. It would be realistic. I bought the book from the Russian lawyer, it was like a fiction, a “1984” book, and a second “The Guardian” book, and spoke to Snowden himself. There were errors —I got the story straight from the man himself, and brought Kieran in to help me.”
[Q] How did you find Open Road?
I ended up suffering disappointment, as no major distribution came through. Open Road stepped in, kudos to Tom Ortenberg—my primary money was German and French with foreign sales from Wild Bunch. The budget was not the $50 million (revealed) in the Sony hack, they turned it down. It’s not a budget problem. It’s self-censorship. I don’t say that the NSA was nefarious.
The studios are all scared. Before, it stayed at the film level, with an Arthur Krim or Terry Semel. Now it has to go to to the corporate board and you never hear back. Lawyers, what are they going to say? “No” is the easiest word in the English language.
Also, in Germany the polls were more favorable to Snowden than in the U.S. They have a history of surveillance with the Statsi and Communists and Nazis. In France, there was popular sentiment for Snowden. Everybody was being listened on, the President of Bolivia’s plane couldn’t fly home because all the air space was controlled by the U.S. We are the dominant power, not willing to allow any rival to emerge. Americans don’t take it seriously, but we are looking to dominate the whole world, that’s the source of all our problems. That’s what we use cyber-warfare for. You can’t push people around. I’ve never believed in bullies. It’s old-fashioned bullying.
[Q] You cram a lot of intel into this movie; were you worried about making it fun to watch?
It was a lot of work. I liked “Enemy of the State,” I love political thrillers like “Syriana,” with a lot of information. We had no violence, no guns, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is not a heroic-looking guy, he’s a bland desk clerk. Shailene Woodley filled in as a powerful figure. That’s the way their relationship worked, extrovert/introvert. I loved the ways they come together. He was Ron Kovic (“Born on the Fourth of July”) a bit. She is the only link he has to humankind, who do you trust? The girlfriend in some deep way keeps him rooted. The pressure was intense.
Those nine conversations with Ed gave us density never dreamed of, dialogue, it’s complex. You get the idea of what was being done, just listening, you don’t understand it necessarily, I’m not a computer expert, but with the faces you sense something going on.
P.S. From Sept 14, 2016 The Intercept, “As “Snowden” Opens, Three Largest Rights Groups in U.S. Call on Obama for a Pardon”
More photos from the Snowden LIVE Event.
P.P.S. From June 2016, ‘State of Surveillance’ with Edward Snowden and Shane Smith (FULL EPISODE).
P.P.P.S. Sept 11, 2016 CBC National, Oliver Stone on Edward Snowden and privacy rights
Nov 10th, 2016 Update: Snowden Live – with Startpage.com Private Search