Review: Official Secrets (15)

George Bell shares his review for the acclaimed political thriller starring Keira Knightley.

George Bell
4th November 2019
Official Secrets (2019) IMDB
Based on true events, Official Secrets follows the story of GCHQ Whistle-blower Katherine Gun (Keira Knightley) in the lead up to the Iraq War.

Upon receiving a memo by the NSA, detailing the US enlisting Britain’s help collecting incriminating information on UN members to blackmail them into voting in favour of a war in Iraq, Gun decides to risk it all. She leaks the memo to the press in hopes of stopping a war, but then must deal with her actions with the possibility of jail time.

This was a movie I had heard little to none about before watching, but I was thoroughly surprised and enjoyed it. The film adapts the true events and the book The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War by Marcia & Thomas Mitch into a really engaging plot that keeps you invested from start to finish. A movie focusing on political intrigue and how the press works with politics may sound like a hard watch but the director Gavin Hood successfully makes it easy to follow. The humour, while infrequent, is used well to lighten the tone, and just makes the viewing even more enjoyable.

Knightley gives an amazing performance showing the morality and hard-skinned Katherine Gun while also realistically portraying the emotional struggles of facing off against the government. Alongside her are an all-star cast who give down to earth and likeable performances which made the experience all the more authentic.  One such is Matt Smith who plays the charismatic writer Martin Bright, gives a performance reminiscent of older roles like Doctor Who. One actor whose performance I really enjoyed was Conleth Hill as Roger Alton, the head of the Observer, due to his grumpy yet hilarious persona. I just wished he had more screen time and dialogue to work with!

This is a movie that looks like it might fall under the radar amongst all the blockbusters releasing currently, which is something I really hope doesn’t happen. If you enjoy political thrillers, this is something you should definitely check out. And that’s a secret I’m happy to leak.

Rating: 4/5

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AUTHOR: George Bell
One half film addict, one part computer nerd. All parts Croc lover

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