Watch Snowden

"The only safe place is on the run."
  • R
  • 2016
  • 2 hr 14 min
  • 7.3  (162,063)
  • 58

Edward Snowden’s story is one of the most talked-about events in American history, and the 2016 film “Snowden” explores the events that led up to his earth-shattering revelations about government surveillance practices. Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden, Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend Lindsay Mills, and Melissa Leo as filmmaker Laura Poitras, the film tells the story of how one man dared to stand up to the government and reveal their secrets to the world.

At the beginning of the film, we see Edward Snowden (Gordon-Levitt) working for the CIA in Geneva after being discharged from the army. He’s hardworking, intelligent, and passionate about his work, but he’s also frustrated with the bureaucracy of the CIA and the unwillingness of his superiors to investigate potential abuses of power. After an accident leaves him with a painful case of epilepsy, Snowden is forced to take some time off work, and during this time he meets his girlfriend Lindsay Mills (Woodley), a free-spirited photographer who inspires him to think about life outside of the CIA.

Snowden eventually returns to work, but his concerns about the legality of government surveillance activities continue to trouble him. He begins working for the National Security Agency (NSA), but soon discovers that the scope of their spying on American citizens is much larger than he ever imagined. He’s particularly appalled by the government’s use of a program called XKeyscore, which allows agents to monitor anyone, anywhere in the world, without a warrant or probable cause.

Snowden decides he can no longer work for the government and reveals classified information about the NSA’s activities to journalists Laura Poitras (Leo) and Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto). Through a series of flashbacks and interviews, we watch as Snowden struggles with his decision to become a whistleblower, knowing that he’ll be seen as a traitor by some and a hero by others.

The tension builds as Snowden navigates his relationship with Lindsay, who is confused and worried about what he’s doing but ultimately supports him. Meanwhile, the government is closing in on Snowden, and he’s forced to flee to Hong Kong with the help of Poitras and Greenwald. The final act of the film centers around Snowden’s controversial decision to share the documents with The Guardian and other publications and his eventual exile to Russia.

“Snowden” is a gripping, suspenseful thriller that expertly weaves together political commentary, dramatic romance, and true-crime intrigue. Gordon-Levitt’s performance as the titular character is nuanced and compelling, and the film raises many important ethical questions about government surveillance and the rights of citizens to privacy. For anyone interested in the Snowden story or the larger issues surrounding surveillance and national security, this film is a must-watch.

Critics praised the performances of the cast, as well as the pacing and structure of the film. Some reviewers criticized the film for being overly sympathetic to Snowden, while others commended the filmmakers for taking on such a politically controversial topic. Regardless of one's opinion of Snowden himself, there’s no denying that the film raises important questions about the role of government surveillance in modern society and highlights the bravery of whistleblowers who risk everything to expose the truth.

Snowden is a 2016 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 14 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 58.

Where to Watch Snowden
Snowden is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Amazon Prime, Max, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Snowden for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 14 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (162,063)
  • Metascore