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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Movie review: 'Snowden' takes early lead for Best Picture



Dear Carla,

Rafi will like this one, too!


I have admired this Whistleblower (capital "W") ever since his name became a household word in 2013. 

Thank you, Edward Snowden, Oliver Stone,
Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Kieran Fitzgerald, all the writers, cast and crew of Snowden.

Bravo!

Snowden is a nerve-wracking thriller and although the outcome is known, still, you get chills watching what happens and wondering why the heck he didn't get out of  Dodge sooner in Hong Kong (?).   

It compares to the stress and anxiety experienced in Argo.  Or a Tom Clancy novel (which I've never read but hear they are pretty good). 

And it's brought to the screen by the same company, Open Road, which distributed Spotlight, the 2016 Oscar winner for 'Best Picture.'

Snowden is Oliver Stone at his best and lo, I am not going to make this a review of Oliver Stone a la so many others, since most moviegoers don't go to a movie because of the director, but we go because of what our friends say, to see a good film based on entertainment, acting, script, music, and all the other components which go into a great film. Who said anything about a director, except the reviewers who write for other reviewers?  They make the film?

 All we want to know:


1. Is the movie worth our time and bucks?  Snowden, yes!  And yes, again!

Due to filming in Munich ("a beautiful experience") where Stone took his menagerie to escape the confines and U.S. peeping, and due to the movie's importance to him, Stone skipped his mother's funeral in the U.S. (where the NSA probably would have wired him at the airport), and to ensure staff technological security, independence, and protection, he hired a cyber expert for the filming. (All these important facts, courtesy, Wikipedia.)


The star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("Snowden,"), (quoting again, Wikipedia) has pledged his salary from the movie "to 'help facilitate the conversation' about the relationship between technology and democracy." (Huh?  There's an organization for that?  Would that be the Clinton Foundation or a "Trump charity"? I say, give it all to The Nation.)

Craig Armstrong and Adam Peters's excellent music increases Snowden's drama and depth with the right amount of volume and composition.

The metallic, sterile industrial complexes of the CIA and NSA are exquisitely done, and the world of make-believe comes alive with Big Daddy Boss Man (Rhys Ifans).  He literally covers the Big Screen in magnificent, scary effect when he morphs into Tyrannosaurus Rhys ready to eat Snowden up. Roar and yeekers, yikers, he is one creepy dude nominated for Best Supporting Actor.


Sex?  Sex?  You want sex?  It's here and more than you'd think, not totally gratuitous and with sprinkles of the "F" bomb dropping every now and then, natch.  

Thanks to Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) who have major roles and led the publication of the information Snowden possessed (possesses).

Ms. Poitras directed Citizenfour, the 2015 Oscar winner for Best Documentary, the predecessor to Snowden about the same subject, however, a little too wonky and technical for me, not nearly the "keep you on the edge of your seat" like Snowden. (The difference between a refrigerator manual and Lolita (I have read).)

Near Snowden's end are heard the shrill cries of Hillary in the background: Hang him!  Hang him high!  To the gallows!  Meanwhile, there is Donald J.Trump who would only execute the man. Sigh, our "leaders," one and the same. Some things never change. It's no wonder so many voters will stay home.

Speaking of, Snowden's hopes for President Obama were dashed early on when Snowden realized Obama was more of the "same ole, same ole," a difficult world to escape once he or she enters the lair.

Snowden said the government uses terrorism as an excuse to spy and pry on the people, and he shared the proof with us. Thank you, Edward Snowden, for the revelations, unlike national intelligence director James Clapper who, three months' prior to Snowden's release of data, lied to U.S. senators in a hearing when he denied that the U.S. collected information on citizens. Excuse me, isn't this what Nazi Germany did? 

Why hasn't Clapper been charged with perjury?  Oh, I forgot:  He's one of "the good old boys," a member of the Washington hierarchy which grants immunity from prosecution, depending upon position.

Please, don't come back, Edward Snowden. Move to St. Petersburg, if Moscow is too droll. Stay away. We don't want THEM to hang you high.

Academy Award nominations:

Best Picture, Snowden

Best Director, Oliver Stone

Best Actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Best Actress in a Supporting Role, (the girlfriend)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Rhys Ifans

patricialesli@gmail.com

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