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Official Secrets

Opening Date
26 Dec 2019
NC16 Some Coarse Language
112 mins
English with no subtitles
Biography, Drama, Romance
Gavin Hood
Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes
From the Oscar winning director of EYE IN THE SKY comes the untold true story of one woman’s fight for truth.
2003. As politicians in Britain and the US angle to invade Iraq, GCHQ translator Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley) leaks a classified e-mail that urges spying on members of the UN Security Council to force through the resolution to go to war. Charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act, and facing imprisonment, Katharine and her lawyers set out to defend her actions. With her life, liberty and marriage threatened, she must stand up for what she believes in…
By Jason Lin  26 Dec 2019
For the audience of Official Secrets, it was a worthy effort to adapt the story for the silver screen where it achieved on several fronts – including that of righteousness and cinema.
read more

Political thrillers tend to be closely associated with action and explosions that many might have been introduced to by espionage icons like James Bond or Jason Bond. Based on true events revolving around the whistleblowing to reveal conspiracies behind the war on Iraq in 2003, Official Secrets portrayed a near-actual recollection of what took place and what was at stake for some very ordinary individuals.
Driven by the ardent core of its female lead played by Keira Knightley, the emotional roller coaster ride was possibly more thrilling than many other mainstream genre productions. Official Secrets was not only based on actual events but also the layered plot threads and plausible characters.
Right from the beginning of the 112-minute film, the audience is treated to a persistent influx of information where its rich screenplay had a lot to narrate and depict. It might take some time for viewers to settle in to fully comprehend, especially for those who were not familiar with the developments of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Many would know that there had not been any substantial evidence (weapons of mass destruction) found to support the allegations that sought to “end Saddam Hussein’s regime of terror” and to “free the Iraqi people”. With its lack of compelling justification and perceived violation of international law, director and co-screenwriter Gavin Hood unravelled developments from the perspective of a few individuals who were bold enough to take on the state and its allies.
Rather than fortifying these individuals, comprising of Knightley’s character Katharine Gun and others including the impressionable British barrister Ben Emmerson played by the impeccable Ralph Fiennes, as unbeatable heroes, the film allowed their inner struggles and fears to surface and tell.
After all, these individuals were only doing their jobs until something deep inside conflicted and challenged them to do something right. These include Gun’s risk of violating the Official Secrets Act and The Observers’ potential litigation for publishing a piece of leaked intelligence that might backfire if not handled well. While their acts might have been perceived as naïve, but it would also be a critically courageous move to shake the system up
The filmmakers did well by choosing to focus on the risks involved and what was really at stake for many of these individuals. This was further appreciated when the scale of reality sets in when the audience understands that these individuals were taking on an entire system with very real dangers of devastating their lives.
Would all of these be worth it at the very end? While the world debates on the rights and wrongs, global political dynamics had always been something that sought to divide people. For the audience of Official Secrets, it was a worthy effort to adapt the story for the silver screen where it achieved on several fronts – including that of righteousness and cinema.
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Official Secrets Official Trailer
Official Secrets Trailer

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