September 13, 2019

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

Official Secrets is based on the true story of Katharine Gun, a British translator who, in the lead up to the Iraq War, leaked an NSA memo to the press in spite of the repercussions. Since it is based on a true story, we know that her actions failed to stop the start of the war. Nevertheless, the film is worth watching to see the role played by Gun and journalist Martin Bright (played by Doctor Who’s Matt Smith) in exposing the intent of the U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies to blackmail U.N. Security Council members into voting in favor of an invasion of Iraq.

Considering I was in middle school when these events unfolded, I hadn’t heard about this story before, but this movie did a lot to educate me on the political climate of the day. The film also did a great job of exposing Gun’s side of the story—who she was and what she was willing to risk personally, professionally, and legally to do the “right thing.” It’s nice to watch a movie with a strong female lead, and Keira Knightley did a very convincing job in the role (even if I found myself thinking the real-life Gun couldn’t possibly be that pretty).

While I’m glad the filmmakers didn’t feel the need to dumb down the material for a Yankee audience, I wish I could have watched it with subtitles. Am I the only one who finds it difficult to understand Brits when they’re speaking quickly or in hushed tones? Ralph Fiennes, as Katherine’s humanitarian lawyer Ben Emmerson, carried the story out nicely, but I couldn’t help but wonder what Matthew Goode’s character was doing there. Overall, this is a deserving homage to a woman principled enough to become a whistle-blower.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Joanna Joanna (Guest Contributor) was born and raised in Metro Detroit. A fan of thought-provoking thrillers and indie films, she also enjoys a good chick flick. When not at the movies, she can be found running, reading, or writing bar trivia.
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