A smattering of derisive tweets has greeted the trailer for Oliver Stone‘s Snowden (Open Road, 9.16). Some were snickering about Joseph Gordon Levitt‘s guttural speech (which reminded critic Sam Adams of Ted Levine‘s Jame Gumb in Silence of the Lambs), and some were thrown or amused by the appearance of Nicolas Cage in a supporting role.
But the main beef (certainly among the smart set) seems to be “who needs another Snowden movie in the wake of Laura Poitras‘s Citizen Four?” The Snowden/Open Road response is that (a) 90% of your popcorn-munchers have never even heard of, much less seen, Citizen Four, and (b) Snowden’s real-life saga transformed into a feature narrative = a Bourne movie without the fights, guns or car chases.
I don’t feel snarky about Stone’s film. Yes, the trailer suggests that Stone is using the usual devices to jack up the threat levels, but I’m half-persuaded that it might be a reasonably engaging thing. I too was taken aback by Cage popping up, and I didn’t even recognize Shailene Woodley, who plays Snowden’s girlfriend. And a brief snip of JGL staring at a computer eye while having sex with Woodley seems like a wrong call. I don’t want to think about Ed Snowden having sex with anyone, ever.
The real problem, I suspect, is not that some people are still critical of (or indifferent to) Snowden’s NSA whistleblowing, but that they really are okay with giving up their digital privacy in exchange for protection from Islamic bad guys. I’m not sure that the liberal media understands the degree to which Average Joes have decided “fuck those guys” when it comes to Islam. The common-man animus is probably equal to general feelings about the Japanese-Americans in the wake of Pearl Harbor, if not stronger. This is partly what the Trump vote is about.
Honest post from 10.10.14: “I for one have never felt threatened by NSA email-monitoring because (a) I’m sure they don’t give a shit about my eccentric postings plus (b) I’m not into anything dicey. I should be concerned, of course, but I’m strangely not. It bothers me somewhat but not greatly — put it that way.”