Published On: Fri, Sep 13th, 2019

‘Official Secrets’ Review: Keira Knightley can’t salvage a politicized, ‘Bush hating’ Katherine Gun biopic

In Official Secrets, Keira Knightley takes center stage on a journey through the lead up to the Iraq War, a link between U.S. leadership and British intelligence to pressure United Nations approval to dethrone Saddam Hussain.

Official Secrets centers around Katherine Gun (Knightley), beginning in 2003, working as a translator for British intelligence when she became discovers a communication pointing to the United States and the United Kingdom conspiring to blackmail other countries in the U.N. Security Council into supporting an invasion of Iraq. Gun leaks the information to the press, breaking laws and creating a moral question of the country’s Official Secrets Act.

Gavin Hood (Eye in the Sky, Ender’s Game) directed from a script he co-wrote with Gregory Bernstein and Sara Bernstein to recount Gun as a heroic whistleblower, much like The Fifth Estate did for Julian Assange. Hood adds a great cast (Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Adam Bakri, Indira Varma, and Ralph Fiennes) in minor roles.

“Minor roles” simply means insignificant because this is Knightley’s film, overshadowing all of the performances from an otherwise, great cast.

Official Secrets attempts to stand on the weak narratives of the anti-war crowd during the Bush administration, dismissing the valid argument of “low level” staff NOT having all of the information to make Kat a martyr for the greater good…fighting for the children in Iraq, trying to raise awareness, but never wanting a scandal.

While Gun’s story is very interesting and exposes the disgusting and nasty nature of politics, but simply accepts the mass surveillance program as acceptable. The moral contradiction of attacking one authoritarian tactic while ignoring the other seems hollow in the post-Snowdon era.

Hood creates tension, intrigue and moral contradictions over the use of drones in Eye in the Sky, but fails tremendously here. At no fault to the cast or acting, Official Secrets is bland and slow at times, relying on tired political talking points as characters enter and exit without ever engaging the audience.

Just like countless war films over the last decade, Official Secrets offers up more insight and warnings to the growing government control and military might which can be manipulated easily. The film just struggles to be entertaining, becoming and amazing “docu-drama” and less of an interesting motion picture..

Official Secrets earns 5 stars out of 10.

If you agree with the politics of Hood and the anti-war crowd, then you will enjoy a heavy dose of confirmation bias, so add at least one star. If you’re sick of rehashing the “Bush lied, People died” bumper sticker, the film will disgust you, subtract at least one star.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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