The Edward Snowden Story Reaches Dangerous Levels Of Drama In The Latest Trailer For Oliver Stone’s Biopic

Open Road Films just unveiled a brand new trailer for Oliver Stone’s Snowden at Comic-Con today, which is a hilarious sentence that is also true. (In related news, Stone told Comic-Conners that Pokémon could lead to totalitarianism). EW got the exclusive on the trailer, and when I saw that their headline said “Joseph Gordon-Levitt is bugging out in Oliver Stone’s new Snowden trailer,” I clicked it as fast as I could to see if Snowden would smash a mirror with his fist to symbolize his inability to reconcile his double life. I love that trope! Nothing lets me know I’m watching a very serious Oscar film like someone punching a mirror.

Unfortunately it was not to be, and, at least in this trailer, the mirror punch (and its cousin, the mirror pep talk) is one of the few heavy-handed metaphors Stone left in his utility belt. In fact, I looked for a mirror punch only to find another slowed-down dramatic cover. This time it was a dramatic version of “When The Saints Go Marching In,” to go with the slowed-down gritty version of “This Little Light Of Mine” that was in the teaser. That’s two different slowed-down dramatic covers for the same movie! This movie must be really dramatic. (Both public domain songs too, I think, nice.)

Oh, and don’t worry, there’s also a beam of light shooting out of the computer into a giant graphic to represent cyberspace and some fairly straightforward Big Brother imagery. Big Brother! Who would have thought. Is Oliver Stone saying that the U.S. government is kind of like Big Brother?! Incendiary. I guess you’ll have to watch it to find out.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Edward Snowden (in a breathy, Vera DeMilo-esque accent that I’m not sure I can handle for an entire movie), with Zachary Quinto as Glenn Greenwald, Melissa Leo as Laura Poitras, and Tom Wilkinson as Ewan MacAskill, the journalists who originally broke the story. The trailer asks if Snowden, the infamous NSA whistleblower, is a “hero or traitor,” which seems sort of a disingenuous question considering I’m pretty sure I know where Oliver Stone comes down on the answer to that.

Anyway, it opens September 16, and if this cheesy-looking movie gets people to learn more about the Edward Snowden story, so much the better.