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JASON BORED

All the cringeworthy clichés in the trailer for Oliver Stone’s “Snowden”

Edward Snowden movie
Open Road Films/YouTube screenshot
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden.
  • Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The official trailer for Oliver Stone’s upcoming movie Snowden is here, and it looks somewhat akin to a Jason Bourne spy thriller—if Bourne were a baritone Harry Potter and Nicolas Cage randomly showed up to ratchet up the frenetic energy (as if this real-life story needed any more urgency).

Directed by the often awkwardly political Stone, Snowden stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the eponymous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who revealed thousands of classified documents about the agency’s spying programs to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill. The film will hit theaters in the United States on Sept. 16.

While it’s always weird when a true story is committed to film so quickly, the Snowden saga was too good to resist—massive global stakes, secret meetings, spy tactics, and, of course, controversy. Those things, combined with an excellent cast and an experienced director, should have been enough to make it an interesting movie.

We’ll reserve ultimate judgment until the actual film is released, but, based on the trailer, it looks like a generic man-against-the-government thriller, except with less action. (Though there is a nifty Mission Impossible-style moment when Snowden stores the secret files inside a Rubik’s cube, which he tosses to a security officer in order to prevent it from going through a metal detector.)

Here are all the movie clichés featured in the trailer, many of which will be familiar from every spy movie that’s come out in the last 20 years.

Misfit flames out of military training

Genius finishes difficult exam in superhuman time

Brooding, mysterious government figure speaks in hushed tones

Nicolas Cage weirdly emphasizes syllables

A futuristic Matrix-like computer web of random people

Highly unrealistic video chatting

And then…the dialogue

“I can’t turn back from this.”

“Find the terrorist in the internet haystack.”

“We are running out of time.”

“They are going to come for me.”

And, best of all: “This looks cheesy.”

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

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