Such an important and Eye Opening film, I learned so many things watching this. You are morally obligated to watch this!
DIRECTOR: Gavin Hood
STARRING: Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes and Matt Smith
SCREENPLAY: Gregory Bernstein, Sara Bernstein
GENRE: Biography, Drama
RUNTIME: 112 mins
★★★★★ 4.5 Stars
I was super unsure about his film going in. I remembered seeing the trailer maybe once in the cinema and thinking ‘Yeah, sure, I will see that’ and after that…nothing. So walking into my screen last night I had no idea what I was actually seeing. But WOW! I am so glad I did.
Official Secrets tells the story of Katherine Gunn, the English whistle blower who went against the Official Secrets Act and released confidential information detailing that the US President George Bush, and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, lied about the legality of the Iraq war and tried to blackmail officials into signing a UN resolution.
Everything about his film was amazing. Keira Knightley gave a fabulous performance. Regardless of how you feel about the real life story, you really do feel for her throughout the film. The way that her own (and my own, I would like to point out) treat her, and her family after the leak is despicable, and the fact that they basically deprive her of all her rights, cast a poor light on the justice system, and the people who are supposed to uphold it. This is such an emotionally charged and suspenseful film, and she really does play all those emotions so well. But I don’t know if the message about freedom of speech and human rights really comes across as strongly as I would have liked it too, considering that is meant to be the main storyline here.
The pacing is great, the tension in broken up well with tender and romantic moments. And the scenes in the newsroom at the Observer are a great change of pace. They serve a great job of showing how the effects of what is happening in the film effected people other than the main characters of the story. They also use a fair amount of actual news reel footage from the time to remind people that these events actually happened. The scenes of the anti war protests did a better job of telling the audience how people felt about the war, then anything they could have put on camera. I was really young when all this was going on in the UK, so for me seeing this footage and hearing this story was absolutely horrifying. However until the end these two stories never really intersect, so it’s almost like watching two separate films. A film about the press’ struggle with reporting about the war would have been equally as interesting to me as the one we got. But maybe didn’t belong as a side-line in this film.
There are also one or two unnecessary elements here I need to mention. The scene on the train where Katherine may or may not have been being followed by some pretty serious lookin’ dudes, added no doubt to add a little thriller feeling to this otherwise biographical flick, went nowhere. It was barely touched upon again and I quite honestly forgot it had ever happened by the end of the film. And I also don’t think they played enough in to the deportation storyline. If they had to put that in there, then they should at least have given us the emotional fall out of the government trying to forcibly deport her husband for no reason, Instead it was brushed under the rug. So in some places maybe this film tried to do too many things at once.
Yes, this does take quite a few liberties with historical fact to make it a watchable film, but as with most films this kind, it was bound to happen, otherwise you may as well just watch newsreels. With the political landscape looking the way it does in both the US and the UK at the moment, this film is still strangely relevant today, and one I would definitely recommend watching.
Recommended for fans of:
Frost vs Nixon
Eye in the Sky
OFFICIAL SECRETS IS OUT IN UK CINEMAS NOW!
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