Small Screen Reviews
Official Secrets Review
What’s It About?
A staffer at GCHQ comes across a top secret memo surrounding the proposed invasion of Iraq in 2003 that she fundamentally disagrees with, so she leaks it to the press, leading to some serious consequences to her life both personally and professionally.
Who’s In It?
Keira Knightley (Atonement, Pirates Of The Caribbean, The Aftermath)
Matthew Goode (Watchmen, Stoker, The Crown)
Other notables include:
Matt Smith (Doctor Who, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, The Crown)
Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, Harry Potter 1-8, Skyfall)
Director: Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Eye In The Sky)
The prospect of a spy film with no action sequences, cat stroking baddies or any hint of a gun may not get the pulses racing, but much like Adam Driver’s The Report, it appears that paperwork and huge decision-making can more than make up for it – just think All The President’s Men.
The film follows the true story of GCHQ worker and translator Katharine Gun, who came across a top secret memo asking her (and her colleagues) to uncover any information they came across which could be used to blackmail some of the nations into supporting a UN motion for the US and UK to invade Iraq in 2003.
Despite being a dedicated and talented employee, this abuse of power eats into Gun, and she eventually copies the relevant information (onto massive floppy discs before printing out in a The Net-style scene), and provides them to an anti-war friend, who in turn provides it to The Observer newspaper. A witch-hunt soon begins in GCHQ, and Gun comes under intense scrutiny with her life being thrown into turmoil as the Government decides to prosecute her under the Official Secrets Act and threaten her husband with deportation.
Keira Knightley gives a stellar performance as Gun in this impressive and natural follow up to director Gavin Hood’s Eye In The Sky, while she is supported by an outstanding British cast which includes the likes of Matt Smith, Rhys Ifans, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode, and Jeremy Northam to name but a few.
Despite a lack of action, Gavin Hood delivers a tense, taut thriller raising an important issue of morality and doing right by one’s country.
In A Nutshell:
It may lack exciting action sequences, but it makes up for it in terms of top performances and unbearable tension.
A strong performance from Keira Knightley
Gripping throughout A first rate British cast
Release date: 24/02/2020