Whatever you happen to feel about Edward Snowden, what he’s done, or the U.S. government’s alleged tendency to spy on its own citizens, there’s no doubt that the story of the former NSA contractor turned whistle-blowing exile has all the makings of a crackling thriller. In the new trailer for the film, Snowden, it looks like we all may be getting exactly that.
Directed by firebrand Oliver Stone and starring your imaginary boyfriend Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Snowden seems to have turned the tale of the man behind one of the largest intelligence leaks in U.S. history into a slick, Bourne Identity-esque, spy pic. This may or may not be a good thing on an ethical level (Snowden himself is too complicated of a figure to be reduced to a simple movie hero and the NSA surveillance program is too complicated of an issue to be presented as a simple evil). Nonetheless, Snowden looks like juicy, provocative fun with an important message.
More than that, it appears that Gordon-Levitt, who doesn’t really look like Snowden, has managed to capture the man’s voice and mannerisms perfectly. It’s pretty uncanny. Along for the ride are Shailene Woodley as Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, Zachary Quinto as journalist Glenn Greenwald, and—what’s this—Nicholas Cage. By the way, Snowden himself is not behind the film, though he lent some help and support to Stone and Gordon-Levitt during development. Oh, and he just tweeted this:
For two minutes and thirty nine seconds, everybody at NSA just stopped working. https://t.co/OLjCV6wkGp— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 27, 2016
Funny. It should be interesting to see how this well-shot, well-budgeted fictionalized take on his life comes together (it’s already getting strong reviews). Snowden arrives in theaters September 16.