Clip It: Each day, Jon Davis looks at the world of trailers, featurettes and clips and puts it all in perspective.
This Snowden trailer was exclusively released at San Diego Comic-Con on the shaky assumption that comic book fans are chomping at the bit to see political thrillers based on true events. I'm sure there's some overlap. Just like there's some overlap between people who like Sour Patch Kids and short form documentaries. It's there if you're looking for it, I guess.
The trailer starts with what looks like a shot-for-shot remake of the Edward Snowden documentary, Citizenfour, as the actors appear to be in the exact same stodgy, monochromatic Hong Kong hotel room. But then Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaks, and maybe he sounds a little like Snowden, but I don't remember Snowden sounding like Buffalo Bill, the “woman suit” wearing, serial killer in Silence of the Lambs. It's an interesting choice from the talented actor, but I'm not sure it's the right one. Director Oliver Stone clearly intends to portray Edward Snowden as heroic – and let's not get into where we stand on that, that's something for you to fight about with your family at your next barbecue – emphasizing Snowden's military career and his shouty relationship with his girlfriend. But it also sounds like this hero is going to tell me “it rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.” And I think that's the wrong way to go.
The other thing that really bugs me? And this might just be me. The Rubik's Cube. That feels like such a Columbia University student film device. It's a base idea of an eccentric thing that someone might carry around, and I don't buy it. That's right, even if Snowden really had a Rubik's Cube, I still don't buy it. The whole thing with it also being a metaphor for complex problems that are sneakily easy to solve, enough with that already. I'd rather Snowden carry around a board game like “Settler of Catan” or “Sorry!” Sorry, Oliver Stone, you get the hose. Again.