Oliver Stone’s upcoming film Snowden will delve deep into the NSA’s government surveillance activities, but in the meantime, the director is busy talking about it cell phone tracking and spying himself. Open Road Films has released a new PSA in which Stone urges moviegoers to turn off their cell phones, using some scary information to make his case.
The reason moviegoers are typically given to power down their phones is to show courtesy to the rest of the people sitting in the theater, so although Stone makes that point as well, his approach is very different. Holding up a smartphone, he talks about the amazing tasks the device is capable of, from sharing our thoughts with millions to keeping in touch with people around the world. He even lets us watch a cute clip of a cat video.
The little creatures are the last warm and fuzzy part of the video, though. Stone takes a darker path, pointing out that our cell phones provide outside parties with the ability to track our moves whenever we make calls and send texts.
“We are giving them access,” the director says in the PSA. “The information you put out into the world voluntarily is enough to burn your life to the ground. This will be our undoing.”
The message is a harsh one and he realizes it, so he transitions to the rest of his announcement. “Think I’m being dramatic?” he says. “Then don’t take my word for it, but do the rest of the people in the audience a big favor: Turn off your phone during the movie.”
If Stone didn’t convince viewers, the movie itself may do the job. Snowden tells the story of real-life former NSA contractor Edward Snowden (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who revealed that the government agency was spying on ordinary citizens. The film hits theaters on September 16.