Snowden’s character will not draw for obvious reasons, intense audience empathy. Adding to the woes is the disjointed and pedestrian script writing by Kieran Fitzgerald and Stone.
Melissa Leo plays Poitras. Zachary Quinto plays the character of journalist Glenn Greenwald, and Tom Wilkinson plays the character of journalist Ewan MacAskill. The film begins with Snowden setting up a meeting in 2013, with Poitras and the two journalists in a hotel room in Hong Kong. Here he discloses the information he had smuggled from his NSA office about the American Government’s massive surveillance of its citizens as well the overseas contacts.
There are a lot of flashbacks in the movie highlighting the background of Snowden and how he tried to enlist with the Special Forces and how he could never graduate from his high school and how he was absorbed as a natural analyst by the CIA and then NSA because of his brilliant mind.
The movie tells the story of Snowden gradually becoming disillusioned with work and his love affair with Lindsay Mills (portrayed by Shailene Woodley). The movie has a lot of good actors, but nobody other than Gordon-Levitt can do justice to the characters.
Although Stone’s direction is methodical and measured, it totally lacks in the fire and flamboyance. There is no real sense of suspense or urgency in the movie. The screen play is a tad dull.