A great biographical thriller, Official Secrets is a suspenseful film that raises important questions while projecting a heroic act of selflessness. An engaging narrative keeps the tension rising and manages to tell a clear and focused politically-charged story.
Director Gavin Hood who previously brought us 2015’s ‘Eye In The Sky’ returns with yet another political movie, with just about the same level of tension. This movie seeks to waste no time, justifying each minute of its runtime and keeping viewers in a constant state of panic. This time around Hood takes on a true story that shook Britain in 2003. ‘Official Secrets’ follows Katherine Gun, a british whistleblower who leaked top secret information, indicating an illegal NSA operation planned to warrant the invasion of Iraq.
The movie sets a dark and serious tone from the beginning, matching its subject matter quite suitably. Following that, we are presented with the urgent issue at hand and we’re able to invest in both our lead character and the story thanks to the engaging storytelling that Hood creates. Keira Knightly shines in her role and really displays the sense of anxiety, fear and bravery that the real Katherine Gun must’ve felt. Both Matt Smith and Ralph Fiennes deliver great supporting performances along with the majority of the cast, minus one Adam Bakri, who’s acting was wooden and weak in contrast to the rest of the cast.
The movie is fantastically well-paced and the runtime passes by quite quickly, which makes it an even more enjoyable watch. Now it may not be really stylistic on a technical level but it makes up for that with the story and powerful themes. The focus being heavily placed on the morality of the situation and the importance of professional integrity. It also highlights the key role of the media and how politically convoluted situations and corruption lead to unethical news reporting, and makes the role of investigative journalism essential. To sum it up, the movie perfectly describes Gun’s heroic act by saying, “you had nothing to gain and everything to lose”. The fact that this is a true story simply makes it all the more powerful!