Official Secrets (2019) Review


Based on the true story of British whistleblower Katharine Gun who leaked information to the press about an illegal operation from NSA to push members of the UN Security Council to support the war in Iraq in 2003.


2003 it made me realise that events for films are getting to the point where I might one day be able to remember them actually happening. Not so with this one as in 2003 I was in my final year at school aged 15/16. So the breaking of the Official Secrets act and the name Katharine Gun aren’t something I can remember. In terms of then watching the film that means that I was rather open to the story.

Katharine Gun has a job listening to conversations and translating them, trying to pick up on any terrorist attacks that might be planned. This is something she was quite proud about seeing her job as protecting the British people from any possible harm. When an email is forwarded from NSA which is basically asking people to be immoral and pressure others into a decision to support an illegal war in Iraq.

She then decides to make a change and take a chance not only with her career but with her life as well. Her husband is going through immigration as they have not approved his status to stay in the UK. Turkish born and what Katharine does puts his ability to stay in the UK at risk. She leaks the email to the press via a friend, then it is passed on to Martin Bright at The Observer.

The paper is unsure whether to print it as there was no way to confirm if it was actually real or not. With a little bit of digging to confirm if the man who sent the email exists or not and the language within the message they decide that it is worth printing. Everything seems to be going well with US news channels wanting interviews with Martin until a website claims it is fake. Why? Well, it was run through spellcheck which then changed the American spelling to British and this put it all in doubt.

The performances from a very impressive British cast are truly outstanding and this is something that I really enjoyed from start to finish. They really did go all out to ensure the standard of acting was top class. Keira Knightley has gone from strength to strength in recent years and I really did enjoy her performance within this film. Matt Smith was another stand out in his role and it was very impressive to see him take on this different film role. Ralph Fiennes who I had no idea was in the film was essential as lawyer Ben Emmerson.

The film has the feel of All The Presidents Men and I feel that is one of the biggest compliments I can offer it as that is a defining film of a generation and event. This could offer a very similar feel for how the Official Secrets act was pushed to the limits and changed. Also in a similar fashion to Snowdon and how people really do still have morals.

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