clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

There is a Peter Gabriel song on the end credits of Snowden that explains the plot of Snowden

New, 7 comments

'There's no safe place to go / now you've let that whistle blow'

Courtesy of TIFF

I haven't yet seen Oliver Stone's Snowden at TIFF this year — though you can read Bryan Bishop's rather unfavorable review here. Luckily, I don't really have to, thanks to "The Veil," the new original song written by Peter Gabriel for the film's soundtrack, which by all reports, plays over the end credits. Thanks to BuzzFeed's Alison Willmore for the hot tip:

They truly don't make 'em like this anymore, folks. Gabriel deftly describes the actions of Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee turned NSA whistleblower, using a seamless combination of metaphor, simile, and statement of fact. Over a pulsing, prodding beat, Gabriel sings in hushed tones, gently reminding viewers that "information flows." A sampling of some of the lyrical highlights:

Gabriel sets the scene by painting a picture:

Underneath the sky

Where the cold winds cross

There is an ocean where data flows

Then builds upon the "data = water" metaphor by introducing the idea of... yes, that's right, a leak.

Stories start to leak

They color your name

While up above

Cloud turns to rain

Gabriel offers an incisive encapsulation of Snowden's still-controversial legacy...

Some say you’re a patriot

Some call you a spy

An american hero

Or a traitor that deserves to die

...While still being quite clear about what Peter Gabriel believes Snowden ought to do with the data he has access to.

Show exactly what is going on

Show exactly who is looking on

Let it all go

Set it free

"The Veil" has everything you want in a modern movie theme song: primarily information, delivered clearly and completely in a series of leaked dumps. Not too different from what Snowden did himself in 2013 when he exposed the NSA's surveillance programs, come to think of it. I personally can't wait to see "The Veil" put to interpretive dance at the 2017 Academy Awards when it's inevitably nominated for a Best Song Oscar. But even if it doesn't get the nod, it will still be out there, for you to listen to when you want to think about the plot of the movie Snowden. Information flows.