Snowden Goes to Hollywood



A look at controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Oliver Stone’s Snowden recounts the events leading up to his leak of classified NSA documents and examines why he did what he did. While we think it may be a little preemptive to dramatize this story, the film does look interesting. We’re just hoping it doesn’t fall into too many action-flick clichés.

Snowden opens in wide release Sept. 16.

PAIGE: I don’t know if the time is right for an Edward Snowden movie. I’m thinking of the Julian Assange/Wikileaks films that recently came out and how those were kind of shaky. It’s a little too recent to be dramatizing it, I think. That being said, the question of security vs. freedom has been a popular one in movies of late, and the funny thing is that movies always advocate for freedom amidst danger, even as real life veers more and more toward safety in security. There’s no question of what this movie thinks the answer is, either.

JAMES: In an interview, Stone says movies are life with the boring bits cut out. Sometimes real life isn’t as exciting. It looks like every spy thriller cliché has been inserted into this flick to boost its cinematic payoffs. The fiction and imagination of this genre has surpassed reality. Hence the microchip in the Rubik’s cube trope. And, the webcam scene.

CHRISTINA: I think this looks pretty good, and I would definitely see it – although I can’t be sure how much of that inclination stems merely from my appreciation of JGL.

JAIMIE: What a bizarre cast for a movie that I, too, think is a little too early in its telling. Though, hey, Edward Snowden really lucked out with JGL portraying him. As much as I think I would wait to watch this movie on TV or Netflix, the trailer did hold my attention. Even though you know what is going to happen. I don’t know. I like a good story of someone who goes rogue and challenges The Man.

NICOLE: The players, although I like them, don’t seem to fit well together in this movie. JGL and Shailene Woodley are a little strange together for some reason. Or maybe it’s just the fact that Woodley has long hair. And Nicolas Cage? Get out of this movie. Creepin’ in on everything.

PAIGE: I think we can all agree that Things Got Real Serious Up In Here when Nicolas Cage walked into this Very Serious Movie with a totally straight face. That’s how we know they aren’t messing around. Except that Cage is so absurd at this point that I couldn’t take the moment seriously.

JAMES: I would have expected something with more of a documentarian feel to it. The action-thriller housing just doesn’t seem to fit in this trailer. They’ve repackaged the subject matter with all its philosophical questions, and made it into a run-of-the-mill action thriller complete with a Nicolas Cage cameo. This is a real-life whistleblowing story with real risks and implications. It doesn’t look like they’re even going to address California Whistleblower Law or the consequences of the NSA’s actions and I bet the movie will end right when the heavier implications start to surface.
What we have here is an origin story that’ll end before it gets interesting.