September 10, 2019

Official Secrets is in select theaters on September 13th, 2019.

She risked everything to stop an unjust war. Her government called her a traitor. Based on world-shaking true events, Official Secrets tells the gripping story of Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley), a British intelligence specialist whose job involves routine handling of classified information. One day in 2003, in the lead up to the Iraq War, Gun receives a memo from the NSA with a shocking directive: the United States is enlisting Britain's help in collecting compromising information on United Nations Security Council members in order to blackmail them into voting in favor of an invasion of Iraq. Unable to stand by and watch the world be rushed into an illegal war, Gun makes the gut-wrenching decision to defy her government and leak the memo to the press. So begins an explosive chain of events that will ignite an international firestorm, expose a vast political conspiracy, and put Gun and her family directly in harm's way.

When I first read the synopsis this film, I had to look up who was directing it. When I found out it was Gavin Hood (Director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Eye In The Sky), I was a little worried due to his spotty background. But let me tell you, when I watched this film, I was shocked. Right from the very start, the intriguing plot enters the room with no time to spare. After that the pacing keeps moving throughout the whole feature. The script also carried the film very well. Written by Gregory Bernstein, Sara Bernstein and Gavin Hood (All having few writing credits besides the director), this script is very intense keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.It also includes one of the best court scenes I have seen put to film.

This film included some very good cinematography by Florian Hoffmeister. But does not feel like it has a sense of style. A few of the characters also seem to be a bit under developed, including Rhys Ifans (previously seen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and The Amazing Spider-Man) who just seems to be a crazy man who would randomly pop up to serve information to the audience. As well as Adam Bakri (previously seen in Omar and Slam), who honestly did not serve the plot and was very underdeveloped. This was very upsetting, because he could of had a much more integral plot in the film adding a new set of eyes to the story.

Now to go to my favorite performances. Ralph Fiennes (previously seen in The Grand Budapest Hotel and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2) was my personal favorite performance in the film, absolutely killing it as Katharine Gun’s lawyer. Matt Smith (previously seen in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Patient Zero was also very good as the writer breaking the story. Now to talk about the lead Keira Knightly as Katharine Gun (previously seen in The Imitation Game and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl). She was alright in the role. Some scenes she was great, but other scenes felt rather generic. So she was a bit of a toss up.

To conclude this review, Official Secrets is definitely a good movie. It has its flaws and not much of a visual/directorial style, so I do not think it will be the most memorable. However, it's an absolute thrill ride over what it really means to be a citizen of your country, and a must watch for any fans of political thrillers.s

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Cabell Cabell (Senior Contributor) is a filmmaker from Tampa, Florida. He will watch just about any film but when he's not reviewing the latest hits he spends time directing films of his own.
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