The 2014 announcement that Oliver Stone would direct a movie about Edward Snowden came as little surprise—Stone has spent a career exploring issues of honor and legacy in bringing controversial figures to the screen. If anything, observers wondered how Joseph Gordon-Levitt would fare in the title role. And now the film’s trailer has arrived to give the public its first good peek at the project.
The trailer succeeds in outlining the intrigue, beginning when a doctor issues an injured Snowden a warning that would double as a prescient call to arms: “You ever again land on those legs of yours, those bones will turn to powder. Plenty other ways to serve your country.” After Snowden receives his fateful assignment as a National Security Agency subcontractee, Nicolas Cage’s intelligence official spells out the task at hand: “Find the terrorist in the internet haystack.” We know the broad strokes of what unfolds from there, but it looks like this film renders the story with appropriate tension and gravity. Joining Gordon-Levitt and Cage are Zachary Quinto as journalist Glenn Greenwald, Melissa Leo as filmmaker Laura Poitras, and Shailene Woodley as Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills. Snowden infiltrates theaters Sept. 16.