The first teaser for Oliver Stone’s Snowden biopic keeps it simple … and cryptic

Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone always brings a lot of buzz to any project he takes on, and his latest film tackles one of the most controversial figures of the last few years: former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden, who released classified documents detailing surveillance of the American people by their own government. The first teaser trailer for Snowden arrived online this week.

Set to a version of the gospel song “This Little Light of Mine,” the brief teaser doesn’t feature any footage form the film, but does provide a compelling introduction to its subject. “Army Recruit at 20 … Joined CIA at 22 … NSA Contractor at 26 … By Age 29 … The Most Wanted Man In the World,” reads the text juxtaposed against scenes of a camera slowly panning over an American flag. The teaser concludes with the image of an upside-down flag emblazoned with the message “One Nation Under Surveillance … For Liberty and Justice For All.”

Written and directed by Stone (PlatoonJFK), Snowden is based on Russian attorney Anatoly Kucherena’s novel Time of the Octopus — about his time working with Snowden in Russia, where he still serves as his legal representation — and Luke Harding’s novel The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper) portrays Snowden in the film, which follows his life and career leading up to and following his decision to leak classified information about the American government’s surveillance of its citizens, and his time spent in Russia while attempting to receive asylum and avoid extradition to the U.S.

Divergent star Shailene Woodly also plays a featured role in the film as Snowden’s girlfriend, who currently lives with him in Russia. The cast is filled out by Oscar-winning actress Melissa Leo, as well as Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, and Nicolas Cage.

Snowden is scheduled to hit theaters December 25.

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