Edward Snowden’s story is well known; a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who risked his life to reveal to the people of the world that their governments were spying on their every move. It was inevitable that a movie about the infamous whistleblower would be made. After all, a movie was made on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as well. Now, the first full-length trailer for Oliver Stone’s (“JFK”) “Snowden” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt has arrived and it looks quite promising indeed.
The trailer for the movie to be released in the US by Open Road Films offers the first proper look at Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden. The trailer begins with Snowden training as a Special Forces candidate in the United States Army Reserve. He breaks both his legs while training and is discharged from any future military duties. He cracks a 5-hour CIA entrance test in a mere 38 minutes. “What should I do now?” Snowden asks. “Whatever you want,” Rhys Ifans’ sinister CIA recruit character tells him.
The deputy director of the NSA offers him a position, as he tells his pole dancer girlfriend Lindsay Mills played by Shailene Woodley. Gordon-Levitt’s Snowden was told that his job there is to “find the terrorist in the internet haystack” according to Nicholas Cage, who appears in a small role in the film. Similarly, Cage played the lead role in Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center” (2006).
While making progress and keeping the US government happy, he discovers its ugly secrets. Snowden realises that the NSA is tracking every cell phone in the world, peeping through every webcam. He discovers that he is living in a world where “privacy” is an archaic word.
Rhys Ifans’ unnamed character tells Snowden that “Americans don’t want freedom. They want security!” Following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, the whole deal of undemocratic and illegal surveillance mushroomed in the United States and eventually spread to the entire globe. The public never really requested the US or any government to take away their right to privacy or freedom for the purpose of “security.” The excesses of surveillance and interrogation by the CIA, NSA, and their damaging effects on the lives of innocent individuals are explored in movies like “The Fifth Estate,” “Rendition,” and “Khuda Kay Liye” (“In the Name of God”).
Snowden realised it was his responsibility to expose the US and other governments’ overreach to the people of the world. He is shown copying numerous files in an SD card and cunningly sneaking past security. He gives the files to journalist Ewen MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson) and knows that he is a marked man now. The three journalists to whom he leaks the NSA documents are also in danger. “They’re gonna come for me. They’re gonna come for all of you too,” Snowden tells them.
“Snowden” releases in the US on September 16. It also stars Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo, Scott Eastwood, Timothy Olyphant and Joely Richardson, among others.