Official Secrets Review: Keira Knightley Takes On The British Government In Generic Whistleblower Thriller

It’s based on a true story.

Official Secrets (NC16)

Starring Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes

Directed by Gavin Hood

Gavin Hood’s last movie Eye in the Sky spent a considerable time debating over the legality of launching a pre-emptive drone strike in “a friendly country that is not at war” in the name of national security.

There’s also a lot of legal jabber in Hood’s latest: Does British spy Katherine Gun (Kiera Knightley, excellent) have just cause to break the Official Secrets Act when she leaked a top secret memo about a US-led campaign to rig the UN Security Council’s vote in favour of the 2003 invasion of Iraq?

While it’s supported by a great ensemble, Gun’s tale of courage isn’t particularly engaging. If you’re expect this movie to end in a climactic courtroom clash, you’re in for a disappointment.

The more interesting parts belong to Matt Smith and Rhys Ifans, as investigative journos with The Observer working hard to ascertain Gun’s intel. In fact, one highlight involves a spellchecking incident. Pity the rest of Official Secrets doesn’t have anything as tense as that scene. 

Yes, spellchecking. (**1/2)

Photo: Shaw Organisation


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