‘Official Secrets’ Review: Keira Knightley Risks Treason in Sober Real-Life Iraq War Drama

If movies were simply judged by their educational and historical merits, “Official Secrets” would be a slam dunk. Based on real events, the drama about a British translator who leaked a top secret Nsa memo during the 2003 lead-up to the Iraq war fancies itself the next “Spotlight” or “The Post,” but its workmanlike translation is more fitting for social studies classrooms than awards conversations. Keira Knightley delivers a routine performance in a central role that is more expository than explosive, and the dramatic action builds around her character more like it would a glorified coat rack than a compelling heroine.

Based on the true story of British Intelligence whistleblower Katharine Gun (Knightley), “Official Secrets” begins with Katharine facing trial for treason in 2004 before cutting back to one year prior. While working as a Mandarin translator at Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (G.C.H.Q.), Katharine is shocked to receive
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