WHO: Oliver Stone and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
WHAT: Snowden trailer
WHY WE CARE: Oliver Stone is stepping back into the political arena with his latest. Never one to back away from controversial figures or subject matter (W., World Trade Center, JFK, Nixon), Stone shifts his lens toward Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower at the center of one of the biggest leaks of government information. The release date for Snowden has been bumped back twice and is now slated for a fall 2016 premiere to put it in the Oscar race. But before we give early praises of sure-fired gold, there are a few things from this trailer we need to address:
1) How will Stone treat hacking scenes in the film? Hollywood has a notorious reputation for falling into pitiful tropes of frantic keyboard clacking and lines of code on glowing computer scenes that make zero sense. It’s a certified challenge to dramatize something so subtle–and subtlety isn’t always Stone’s forte, now is it? 2) What about Snowden will tell us what we don’t already know? One of the pitfalls of modern biopics, particularly those dealing with topics that have been picked apart by the media ad nauseam, is presenting the audience with a fresh angle. The Snowden trailer is built on fast-paced editing and high-stakes chase music, laced with breathless phrases like, “You’re looking at a possible death sentence!” “We are running out of time!” and “They’re gonna come for me!”–which all seems just a touch over-the-top. We all know what happened to Snowden, so it’s up to Stone to imbue his film with exclusive tidbits that haven’t played in the news.
Regardless, Snowden should be an interesting conversation starter in the ongoing debate of government surveillance, especially in an election year.