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Snowden review: A polished political thriller

Snowden opens with Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and journalist Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) meeting Edward (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in Hong Kong.

They place mobile phones in a microwave in Edward's room - a security measure to prevent surveillance tracking - before he recounts his life story in a series of flashbacks.

He recalls his training with the US Army, which leads to a position at the CIA under director Corbin O'Brian (Rhys Ifans). Edward's impressive skills propel him on to writing programs that will protect sensitive NSA data.

Meanwhile, he begins dating Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley), who stands by Edward as he embarks on his momentous course, but is also his voice of conscience.

Snowden is a polished, if suspense-free, political thriller for our surveillance-heavy times that shines a sympathetic light on the lead character.

Four stars

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