After months of anticipating what the hell Nic Cage was going to be doing in the new Snowden movie, we finally get to see him in the first official trailer! Sadly, Cage’s role is only that of a random NSA guy urging Snowden to “find the terrorist in the Internet haystack.”
This is the first we’ve seen of the new movie chronicling the plight of Edward Snowden since the teaser emerged a few months back. First impressions?
If you can get past the Snowden sex scene where he’s staring down his webcam mid-romp then you’re basically left with classic Oliver Stone. Stone, who’s basically the Michael Bay of government thrillers, again appears to be slicing and dicing history to make gods out of men and feverish devils out of meddling mid-level government bureaucrats.
For a true story that was based on getting to the bottom of the lies and finding and exposing the truth, this new movie appears to mire itself in more than a few over-the-top artistic liberties as it seeks to turn Gordon-Levitt’s Snowden more into Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg from The Social Network.
In the trailer, Ed seems to be the bell of the ball at the NSA, regularly chilling with NSA dudes at strip clubs and wowing superiors like the NSA deputy director with his superior wits, showcasing himself as the NSA all-star. Meanwhile, in reality, no one high up at the NSA likely had any idea who government contractor Ed Snowden was until the files had been leaked.
For anyone who has seen Citizen Four, the portrayal of Snowden by Joseph Gordon-Levitt should feel a bit off (though his voice does sound eerily accurate). Gone is Snowden’s endearing geekiness, replaced here by Gordon-Levitt’s congested doofus getup. Building paranoia is replaced by crystal clear threats and consequences. Sexy nerdiness is replaced by nerdy sexiness.
Tech-related movies can often be frustrating to slog through, as everything is either oversimplified or overcomplicated. This movie appears to err on the side of making it look like no one actually understands what they’re doing, though Snowden does seem to plug in that tiny USB drive like a pro.
Snowden’s story is a momentous and complicated one caked in ethical quandaries and controversy. It could make a fantastic film, so let’s hope the full movie has more to offer than this early trailer.