Film Trailers

Are We Really Going to Let a Silly Thing Like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Weird Voice Ruin Snowden?

Um, yeah. Actually, we are.

No, seriously, have you seen the trailer for Oliver Stone’s Snowden yet? This movie is Oliver Stone’s wet dream. Imagine what would happen if present-day Oliver Stone could travel back in time and tell JFK-era Oliver Stone that he would someday get to make a movie about the U.S. government unlawfully spying on every single one of its citizens, and its all true, not just some Hollywood writer’s fever dream. The JFK-Stone would probably instantly murder his future self and travel forward in time to take his place, unwilling to wait for the opportunity to direct a real life conspiracy theory come true. He’d barely be able to hide his constant erection. Except, of course, the past Oliver Stone killing the future Oliver Stone would create a time travel paradox, and the entire universe would fold in on itself (I assume). You’d kill us all, Oliver Stone, just because you coudn’t wait to realize your life’s dream. Thanks a lot, you selfish jerk.

Wait. Where was I going with this? Oh, right. The voice. The movie itself looks like standard Oliver Stone boiler plate conspiracy thriller, with a somewhat surprisingly Joe Eszterhas-quality to one sequence involving Snowden sexing it up with his girlfriend (played by Shailene Woodley) before freaking out that someone could be watching through his laptop’s webcam. Dude. Don’t worry. Just get a MyFreeCams channel and start charging people to watch. People do that for a living now.

Wait. Again. Got off topic. The voice. Yes, the voice. It…has to be heard to be believed. Close your eyes and it might sound fine, but actually watch with your eyes open and ears uncovered and that strange noise coming out of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s mouth just does not go with his face:

What we have here, as pointed out by Mike Ryan on Twitter, is a movie-length version of that fake voice Jerry once used on the phone to trick his girlfriend-of-the-week in latter-era Seinfeld:

The counter-argument is that, unfortunate as it might be, that is roughly what Edward Snowden’s real voice sorta, kinda sounds like.

The counter-counter-argument is that this is The Walk all over again. It’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing a barely passable vocal performance in a feature-length film version of a topic which was previously covered to perfection in an amazing documentary. With The Walk, the superior, pre-existing documentary was Man on Wire, and with Snowden it’s CitizenFour. For many, The Walk proved unable to justify its own existence. However, JGL’s voice more or less justifies Snowden‘s existence because that along with the presence of Nicholas Cage and some surprisingly sleazy moments in this first trailer indicate this movie will be remarkably entertaining, if not always in the way it intended.

Or maybe I’m just really loopy at the end of a work day, and not giving Snowden its just due, immaturely focusing on a silly voice instead of offering a serious reaction. This is, after all, a movie about a scandal which literally affects every single one of us. Earth-shattering stuff here, people.

No, that’s not it. JGL’s voice is just genuinely that distracting.

Snowden comes out September 16, 2016.  I predict many smartasses will dress up as JGL’s Edward Snowden voice for Halloween. I don’t know how you pull that off, but if you can do a passable version of his passable version of the real Snowden then you’re halfway there.


  1. That first paragraph was wonderfully entertaining, genuinely made my morning 😀 I hope the movie will turn out pretty good – I quite liked JGL’s voice, and I really can’t imagine a better director for this project than Oliver Stone…my fingers are crossed!

    1. Glad to have made your morning, although that was several mornings ago by the time I’m writing this response. We can at least agree that Oliver Stone is the perfect person for this material. JGL’s voice has been divisive. In the context of the movie, it might just be one of those things your ears and eyes quickly adjust to. However, in the trailer, like I said, that voice just doesn’t seem like it goes with that body, and I don’t feel like I’m watching JGL becoming a character. Instead, he’s clearly an actor trotting out a silly voice, but I’ll be very interested to see if the full film proves me wrong and helps get past this somewhat superficial response.

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