2019 Film Reviews – 63: Official Secrets [dir. Gavin Hood; 2019]

It may not be remarkable in terms of cinematic flair or technical originality, but the story it tells makes Official Secrets worthy of your attention. Focussing on Katharine Gun’s decision to expose the UK intelligence agencies’ dubious dealings in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War, it offers a carefully-delineated picture of how the story ended up on the front page of the national press and how Gun then found herself in the dock. Various players in the tale come and go as per the needs of the plot – although they invariably create a lasting impact, thanks to being portrayed by the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith and Matthew Goode, amongst others – but it’s Keira Knightley in the lead role who holds it all together, focussing the cool indignation of the screenplay with her fragile, defiant expression. A convincing account of a shameful moment in the UK’s history.


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