LFF 2019 Preview - Official Secrets
Dir: Gavin Hood
Starring Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode, Katherine Kelly, Tamsin Greig, Rhys Ifans
Keira turns GCHQ whistle blower in Gavin Hood’s latest politicized – and highly concisive – drama. She is Katharine Gun, the government worker – bound by the Offical Secrets Act – who, nonetheless, leaked a memo that showed the coercion being exerted to secure the 2003 Iraq war that both Blair and Bush seemed determined to exact.
Gun subsequently was revealed and ultimately faced trial for her actions. Whilst the movie obviously benefits from hindsight, Hood makes a good job of capturing the anxiety of the moment, (and simplifying its complexities), backed by a superb performance from Knightley, an actress who just gets better and better.
For the most part, the movie plays like a taut thriller – there’s even a very obvious (and acknowledged) nod to All The President’s Men. But what’s surprising about it is just how topical it is - particularly for a UK audience, once again caught up in a mire of political in-dealing and uncertainly.
A stand out cast helps of course, with Matt Smith on fine form as The Observer journalist who took Gun’s story to the world, and Ralph Fiennes at the top of his game as her quietly determined lawyer.
But it is Knightley’s movie, and her impassioned yet understated performance truly brings the film home.
Official Secrets plays the LFF on 10, 11, & 13 October. For more info go to https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/
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