A morality tale for the 21st century, Official Secrets tells the true story of British Intelligence whistle-blower Katharine Gun who, during the immediate run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, leaked a top secret NSA memo exposing a joint US-UK illegal spying operation against members of the UN Security Council. The memo proposed blackmailing smaller, undecided member states into voting for war. At great personal and professional risk, journalist Martin Bright published the leaked document in The Observer newspaper in London, and the story made headlines around the world. Members of the Security Council were outraged and any chance of a UN resolution in favour of war collapsed. But within days, Bush declared he no longer needed UN backing and invaded anyway. As Iraq descended into chaos, Katharine was arrested and charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act. Martin faced potential charges too. Their legal battles exposed the highest levels of government in both London and Washington ...
It's sometimes difficult for films that deal with heavy dialogue covering subjects that are not always the easiest to translate on screen to create thrilling 100 minutes or so. Official Secrets does it well, bolstered by yet another great (period piece) performance from Keira Knightley. This film may not be revered as much as All the President's Men or Spotlight but it's up there for me. Separating itself by showing the true costs of being a whistleblower emotionally and physically while still succeeding in using a similar formula structurally. I was nothing short of enthralled with Official Secrets.
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