Snowden Is the Pick of the Week

Turn on the news and you are bound to hear any number of stories about computer hacking of some sort. Whether it’s Hillary Clinton’s emails (and Russia’s potential involvement) or some celebrity having their private photos released publicly, there is no escaping that we live in a world governed by our technological devices and increasingly made vulnerable by them.

It used to be easy to write off those who lived in fear of what technology might bring. Back in the ’80s, we used to laugh at my grandfather who would rant about how the government was spying on us through our televisions. Now, in the days of Wikileaks, Anonymous, and Edward Snowden, I wonder if he wasn’t on to something.

Oliver Stone has brought the Snowden story to life with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the titular character. Snowden made front-page headlines when he leaked thousands of classified documents proving that our government is spying on us. Stone removes his crazed conspiracy-theory hat in Snowden and tells a pretty straightforward story (I guess he figured the truth has enough craziness that he didn’t need crackpot theories). He tells Snowden’s story well, but I still miss the days when his films sparkled with electricity. (You can read my full review.)

For all of its flaws, Snowden is a good film and discusses an aspect of American life and governance that’s proving more and more important with each passing headline. Which is why Snowden is my pick of the week.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

In the Valley of Violence: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, and Karen Gillan star in this western about a mysterious stranger who stumbled into a forgotten town of misfits and nitwits. Violence presumably incurs. I’d not heard of this one before but they have me with Karen Gillan and “violence”.

American Honey: Andrea Arnold’s road movie about a group of drifting, hard-partying kids traveling about the country selling magazines and trying to find themselves. (You can read my review.)

Versailles: Season One: A new drama set in 1667 when the French nobles moved the French court from Paris to Versailles. I don’t know anything about this show, but we’re all about French intrigues and it was actually filmed in Versailles so it should be beautiful to look at.

Dog Eat Dog: Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe star in this Paul Schrader film about a couple of ex-cons hired by an eccentric mobster to kidnap a baby. I’m guessing things go awry.

Mat Brewster

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