The trailer for the upcoming movie “Snowden” came out today.
And I could not help but be reminded of “The Fifth Estate”.
“The Fifth Estate” was about Julian Assange played by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch. It had a solid director with Bill Condon and seemed like it might have been a good movie, but alas it did not fair so well either critically or at the box office. Maybe it was too soon or just not a good movie.
“Snowden” is directed by Oliver Stone, who has a lot of experience and success doing biopics. It also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who I think is a great actor and has the potential to pull off the role. Those two factors alone should give it a better chance than most to succeed where “The Fifth Estate” did not.
But the thing that I think overshadows “Snowden” is the documentary “Citizenfour”.
It is amazing that those involved had the foresight to film the entire first meeting with Edward Snowden. It’s a pretty simple straightforward film, but the fact that they captured this pivotal moment, right before the whole thing exploded in the media, is mind-blowing. It’s a very private account of an incredibly controversial event in US history and it’s riveting. To now try and re-tell that story through a dramatic lens is going to be very hard, especially this close in time with the actual events. I have doubts whether it will succeed or not, but nonetheless I am excited to see it.
Maybe it will be like “Steve Jobs”, where the people who intimately knew the details of what happened will not like the film, but the general audience and film community will think of it as a good film. We will find out next fall when it’s released on September 16, 2016.