“Terrorism Is Just An Excuse…”
A dramatic tale of one of the most controversial figures in recent history you say? Who shall we bring on as director for that then? Oliver Stone of course, the man renowned for shall we say, colourful political views but more importantly probably the right man for the job when admiring his previous work such as the renowned Vietnam trilogy which included Platoon and Born on the Forth of July, both of which supplied Stone with Oscar wins, as well as his work on astute US political dramas such as JFK and Nixon. Although the Oscar winning documentary Citizenfour provided an in-depth examination of Edward Snowden and his role as the notorious whistle-blower, Stone’s dramatisation of similar events features Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the titular role, alongside a strange rafter of familiar faces such as Timothy Olyphant, Tom Wilkinson and Nicholas Cage who come and go in less-than supporting roles. If the man at the centre of the movie wasn’t so darn interesting, Snowden could have been in danger of being a sour, cold drama, yet with a top performance from Gordon-Levitt, Snowden is a interesting, if rather overlong, political drama.
Where the film is in its’ most interesting is scenes in which we delve into the technological aspect of Snowden’s past, whether it be hidden away in some James Bond-esque spy cave in Hawaii or hiding under a false name in the metropolitan sprawl of Geneva, yet Stone is also interested in the personal side of Snowden, giving us an in-depth examination of his relationship with partner Lindsay Mills (Divergent series’ Shailene Woodley) and the strain put on such by his classified occupation. Unfortunately for Stone, this aspect of the film is undoubtedly the weakest and therefore becomes an issue when at least two-thirds of the drama is focused upon such instead of the more interesting, political issues that Stone is renowned for taking more of an interest in. Throughout the course of the drama, the movie does seep into frank ridiculousness, particularly when Snowden is greeted to the pantomime silliness of the enlarged face of an angry Rhys Ifans, a scene in which it was hard to not laugh at the sheer OTT nature of Stone’s decision to enforce a higher level of dramatisation than the already interesting storyline needed. Snowden is overlong, silly and boring at times but with the one-two of Gordon-Levitt and Woodley attempting to do the most with what they can, the film does work on some level, just not the level the pedigree of Stone should be settling for.
Overall Score: 6/10
With one of the worst taglines in movie history accompanying it (Check the poster above), the sequel not one person particularly wanted to Olympus Has Fallen has finally decided to embrace our screens in a time of the cinematic year in which, let’s face it, most of the crap tends to descend upon us in a vain attempt to dislodge the award season by letting us know that aside from brilliance of films like Spotlight and Room there is always going to be a gap in the market for absolutely tripe. Following in the footsteps of last weeks’ horror abortion The Forest therefore is Babak Najafi’s London Has Fallen, a cash-grabbing attempt to carry on the murderous rampage of one Gerard Butler during his duties to protect the least believable on-screen President ever in the form of Aaron Eckhart, perhaps best known for portraying Harvey Dent/Two-Face in The Dark Knight, whilst eyeing up the chance to blow up some of the UK’s most valuable and iconic works of art in a metaphorical and very American two fingers up to the people of the UK. As you can tell, it’s a complete turkey.
Although perhaps not worthy of extreme critical examination by any stretch of the imagination, I believe it is the interest of editorial affairs that I point you in the direction of Adam Sherwin’s article in The Independent (Link Below) whereby he gathers the rafter of hatred that has been directed towards London Has Fallen with many proclaiming it a “dumpster of xenophobia” and a film which would “inevitably end up on Donald Trump’s DVD shelf”. Can I argue with any of these statements? Not at all, particularly when regarding the extreme stereotypes and highly racist prejudices which encompass the entirety of the movie whilst the inclusion of complicated and controversial tactics of war such as drone usage is simply lauded within the first ten minutes of the film in which we witness an entire generation of a middle-eastern family get blown up. Is this really entertainment? No. Not only is the film morally bankrupt to the extreme, it is also a shoddy piece of cinema with awful dialogue, ridiculously violent set pieces and awful CGI which wouldn’t go amiss in a straight-to-DVD B-Movie. Don’t take the time out of your day to fuel America’s willingness to enlighten the world regarding the evil nature of the East, London Has Fallen is a Goebbels’ level of war propaganda and something that should be left alone in hope it disappears completely.