Rated 2.0

Oliver Stone directs and co-writes (along with The Homesman screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald) this paint-by-numbers, Wikipedia-page biopic of NSA whistleblower/traitor Edward Snowden. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Snowden, flashing back through his life story while killing time in a Hong Kong hotel room with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. Shailene Woodley co-stars as Snowden’s longtime girlfriend Lindsay Mills, Rhys Ifans plays an overbearing boss and Nicolas Cage cameos as a sympathetic mentor, but they’re all just one-note sounding boards. If you had any hope that the hot-button recentness of the subject matter would rouse Stone out of a two-decade stupor, forget it—Snowden is one of Stone’s most numbingly prosaic films, a predictably constructed and overly strident message movie. It often plays more like a simpering advocacy documentary than a dramatic film, with Gordon-Levitt and Woodley coming off like beautiful and doe-eyed re-enactors. Citizenfour exists, so skip this silliness. D.B.