Snowden follows American computer professional Edward Snowden (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the film), who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency to The Guardian in June 2013.

Snowden is a movie I got to see two months before its release this September, and I’m glad I took the opportunity to watch it. Director Oliver Stone delivers an interesting, complex, and well-done biopic that taught me a lot more about who Edward Snowden really was, what he did, and why he did it. The film works as both an excellent biopic and a great political thriller. I’ve seen Joseph Gordon-Levitt shine in many films over the years, but I’ve never seen such outstanding work from him like in this film. I couldn’t see Gordon-Levitt in the film, I could only see Snowden. He completely changes his appearance, behavior, and most remarkably his voice to perfectly match the figure in real life. Towards the end of the film, an interview with the real Snowden is compared to one with Gordon-Levitt’s portrayal of him, and the efforts the actor made to become the character are unbelievable. Although I don’t think Shailene Woodley was the best choice to play her character, I feel like she gave the role her best and her performance didn’t turn out to be too bad. The movie also has a great supporting cast (including Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, and Nicolas Cage), and most of them deliver strong and interesting performances. Snowden works as a biography, a thriller, and an interesting drama. The movie gives us a better glimpse at the gravity of what Snowden did, and exactly why he did it. We get some depth inside the threat of our security at the time, and the controversy behind whether the NSA was doing the right or wrong thing by looking at our actions and personal information. Oliver Stone convinced me that Snowden was doing the right thing, and for the right reasons too, which wasn’t exactly what I believed before. This movie did what a great biography should do, which is change your view and opinion about the person being focused on by learning and understanding more about them. In the first twenty minutes of the film, the editing and cinematography feels off and not the way it’s supposed to be, but it’s all polished up afterwards, despite a few moments throughout where the editing feels somewhat odd. But the film’s great performances, storytelling, and effect are what matter the most. Instead of giving us all the information about the topic that happens after the film through closing cards, we get most of it through fragments of real newscasts about what happened, which isn’t something we always get in biopics, and I thought that was a different but much more effective way to deliver the audience information. Walking out after the film ended, I was left thinking a lot about the subject and what I had just watched, which proves the film succeeded at doing its job for its audiences.

Snowden is a well-done, excellently directed, and powerfully executed biopic that you should definitely watch in theaters when its released this September, and although the editing has a few moments that needed some more polishing, its performances and writing are what make it stand out from most of the other movies I’ve seen this year. I sure hope this movie gets the audience and praise it deserves once it’s released.

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The Walk


The Walk tells the fascinating true story of French acrobat Philippe Petit, who in 1974 hung a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and walked on it.

Since after Forrest Gump, my favorite drama movie, was released and stole the Oscars that year, not many of Robert Zemeckis’ films have been appreciated and recognized as being his (with exceptions like Cast Away and Flight). The Walk is hopefully a return for him. A visual spectacle with a fascinating topic, The Walk delivers a fantastic storyline, lots told through constant narration from an extraordinary protagonist (like in Forrest Gump). Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers his best performance yet as the daring French artist, nailing a French accent and perfectly capturing the heart and soul of Petit. He captures every single emotion of the character terrifically and really transforms into the role. Knowing the movie is a true story makes you think more about the movie and the person Petit is. The supporting actors including Ben Kingsley are also great, but the spotlight always seems to be pointed on Gordon-Levitt, never pulling our interest away from him, but we are often wishing a few characters were a bit more developed.

The score by Alan Silvestri, who has frequently collaborated with Zemeckis on features like Back to the Future and Forrest Gump, is once again a wonderful score, brilliant, beautiful in many aspects, and soothing to listen to. The visual effects are, of course, flawless, and absolutely amazing to look at, with the Twin Towers being shown with amazing CGI, and although some details are obviously CGI, they are still very well done, which is a great accomplishment because obvious CGI is often irritating in modern cinema. Robert Zemeckis is a master of visual effects, having perfected them in every movie he has directed. Although the film ended up focusing more on the plot than the visual beauty, it still gives enough times for the visuals to shine. The plot is always sweet, heartfelt, and has entertaining narration from Gordon-Levitt’s Petit. It focuses on Petit’s life, love, associates, and especially his daring dream and soul. It is able to entertain, touch our hearts, and bring the setting to life, while being able to avoid overused biopic cliches such as closing title cards.

The climax of the film, in which Petit finally walks the wire, is the most well-put together, compelling movie scene of the year. With such thrills and 3D effects, you are pulled from your seat to the wire with Petit. In that final 20 minutes, you can feel your heart pounding as you watch this incredible moment in history brought to life in front of you.

The Walk is entertaining, touching, visually incredible, fantastically directed and acted, and easily one of the best films of the year, and one greatest 3D experiences of the decade, following the footsteps of Gravity and Hugo.

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