Our usual crew went to see Snowden this past weekend. I had already seen the Citizen Four documentary, but I was interested to see Oliver Stone’s take on the topic. Overall I think he did a good job, especially when it came to explaining some of the very technical aspects of the surveillance programs, even showing a practical application.
I did think the character development was a little shallow, especially when it came to the relationship between Edward and Lindsey. Edward basically sacrificed everything to make the disclosure and it seems like the gravity of that decision was glossed over.
Surveillance is about economic and social control. Terrorism is the excuse.
One of the most powerful scenes in the movie was where Edward was talking about the true purpose of surveillance. He explained that surveillance was about economic and social control, and terrorism was the excuse needed to justify it. It makes a lot of sense too, when you consider there is no record of any large-scale, domestic terrorist plots being stopped as a result of all this spying.
Before I get too far off the rails, I highly suggest both Snowden and Citizen Four. Edward Snowden has done humanity a service we will likely never be able to pay back. Understanding what he did and why is key to putting pressure on our government to give him the whistleblower protections he deserves instead of the status of “traitor”.