At the end of one exposition-heavy scene, Edward Snowden finishes a conversation and puts his Rubik’s Cube down on a desk; he then picks up a much bigger Rubik’s Cube, one with more colours and tiles, and walks out the room. Because that’s how clever Snowden is. His Rubik’s Cubes are super-sized. He’s not like you and I – his intelligence is at least twice as big!
How worthwhile you’ll find Snowden depends on how familiar you are with the story of the man himself and his part in the NSA/GCHQ leaks. If you read each new revelation in the Guardian with increasing indignation at the erosion of your civil liberties, then you’ll probably find Oliver Stone’s movie to be a frustratingly glossy and smug dramatization of a fascinating moment in world history. If you were living in a cave in the summer of 2013, however, then Snowden is a slick re-cap to get you up to speed. Either way, it still has Nicolas Cage in it.
Snowden boasts an impressive roster of bad-movie performances, with Cage naturally topping the bill. His is an an entirely unnecessary role, an auxiliary mentor-figure cliché who only appears twice but is just sublimely ridiculous both times: if your cinema’s audience doesn’t explode into laughter when he appears, then it must have already left.
It’s a performance that might have completely capsized the entire movie if the standards hadn’t already been lowered by the other performances around it. Zachary Quinto emotes so strenuously that you wish he’d stuck with playing Spock, an alien with no feelings, and Shailene Woodley’s character is apparently the first manic pixie dream-girl based on a real person. Joseph Gordon Levitt gives his Snowden some depth but also a constricted, phlegmy voice. You’ve just stopped finding it annoying when the real Snowden turns up in a smug cameo and turns out not to sound like that at all.
But Stone’s film has the courage of its convictions and is
likeable in its daftness. It’s like someone made a Wikileaks film with John
Malkovich as Julian Assange and Giovanni Ribisi as Chelsea Manning. You’d
probably give that a watch, wouldn’t you?
|What||Snowden film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
09 Dec 16 – 09 Feb 17, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|