This movie is based on real events. It is not a documentary, but a biographical thriller.
The movie opens in 2013 in Hong Kong. Edward Snowden is meeting a hotel with reporters and a documentary filmmaker. He is giving the reporter a memory chip with lots of secret information from the United States National Security Agency (NSA), America’s top spy department. He wants a newspaper, The Guardian, to publish his story, but he is afraid of the US government.
The movie then jumps back in time to explain Snowden’s story:
- After 911, Snowden joined the Army, but had to quit because of injury.
- Next, he joined the CIA and, because he was a super expert in computers, joined their secret IT department to fight terrorism.
- Around this time, he fell in love with a woman who was against the Iraq war. (In contrast, Snowden was very “patriotic” (愛国心が強い, 애국, 爱国, දේශප්රේමී).
- His first assignment was working in Switzerland where he learned about a US government spy program called “x-keystroke” that collects all information about everybody. It also has the ability to secretly turn on computer cameras without the light showing. He didn’t like to participate in such a program, so he quit the CIA.
- He was still patriotic, though, and wanted to fight terrorism. He joined the NSA as a computer expert. He went to work in Japan, and found out about another secret US program to spy on world leaders. Also, the US government had developed “malware” (computer virus) that could attack Japan’s infrastructure, including turning off all the electricity. The purpose of this program was not to fight terrorism, but to make sure that the US could control every country. This made him very stressed out.
- His girlfriend thought he was becoming “paranoid” (ව්යාකූල, 偏执狂, 妄想, 편집증) so they had a big fight and she left him. He quit the NSA and went back home.
- The NSA still wanted him to work for them, so they hired him as a “consultant”, a person who works for another company but helps the government. His NSA boss wanted him to come to Hawaii to fight against Chinese government hackers…
After we watch the second part of this movie, please consider if Snowden is a hero or a criminal. Why do you think so? Please write a short answer, no more than 50 words. Leave your answer in the reply below.