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Official Secrets (2019)

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2:13 | Trailer
The true story of a British whistleblower who leaked information to the press about an illegal NSA spy operation designed to push the UN Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Director:

Gavin Hood

Writers:

Gregory Bernstein (screenplay), Sara Bernstein (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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848 ( 18)
4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Keira Knightley ... Katharine Gun
Matt Smith ... Martin Bright
Matthew Goode ... Peter Beaumont
Rhys Ifans ... Ed Vulliamy
Adam Bakri ... Yasar Gun
Ralph Fiennes ... Ben Emmerson
Conleth Hill ... Roger Alton
Indira Varma ... Shami Chakrabarti
Jeremy Northam ... Ken Macdonald
John Heffernan ... James Welch
Monica Dolan ... Fiona Bygate
Tamsin Greig ... Elizabeth Wilmshurst
Niccy Lin Niccy Lin ... Mi-Yung
Jack Farthing ... Andy Dumfries
Gabrielle Downey Gabrielle Downey ... Mrs. Archer
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Storyline

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 ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on the Untold True Story See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

30 August 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Official Secrets See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$64,965, 1 September 2019

Gross USA:

$1,988,546

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,581,462
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When originally announced in 2016, both director and main actors were different. The original director was Justin Chadwick. Natalie Dormer was supposed to play the main character, Katharine Gun. Paul Bettany was Martin Bright. Martin Freeman was a composite of Peter Beaumont (played by Matthew Goode in the actual movie) and Ed Vulliamy. Harrison Ford was supposed to appear as a veteran CIA agent, and also Anthony Hopkins as a retired general. See more »

Goofs

When Katharine enters the office at the office at 04:10 she places a pastry onto some sort of equipment. She then gives some to her colleague and puts it back on the equipment. From there it just vanishes and appears at 05:10. See more »

Quotes

Ben Emmerson: Following orders is not a defense to a war crime.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Good Morning Britain: Episode dated 11 October 2019 (2019) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Official Secrets leaks its thrills and political deceit through an accurate whistleblowing docudrama.
25 October 2019 | by TheMovieDioramaSee all my reviews

Governments. A democratic selection of individuals to govern a nation with the public's best interest taken into consideration. Providing foreign communications, budget monitoring and defensive security. Essentially, attempting to make the country more sustainable for its future endeavours. Yet, here we are in the UK, squabbling endlessly over Brexit for months on end with not one single MP physically listening to the voices of the nation. A recurring distractive technique that acts as a vivid reminder of the toxic deceit that the Blair/Bush administration fabricated. Illegally, might I add.

The 2003 Iraq Invasion was a preventable war. An unnecessary crime against humanity. Hood's docudrama prompts us to relive the political agendas of socialist manipulation, by recounting GCHQ employee Katharine Gun's life, but more specifically her intent on preventing a war. She leaked a sensitive memo that would expose illegal spy operations by the United States, as Bush attempted to blackmail the UN Security Council into voting for a war he deemed was inevitable. The deaths of millions of Iraqis, military forces and other officials as a result of his dictatorial administration. "Bush's World" states the placards of London protests. Their blood, on his hands. And whilst the recounting of Gun's "traitor"-like behaviour is formally structured as with most mechanically inclined political thrillers, Hood manages to competently evoke an emotional response.

See, not all films have to be entertaining. Not all films have to include fictionalised strands for the sake of mainstream enjoyment. Films can be informative. And most of all, they can make you feel. Perhaps the most microscopic output of wonderment or fear. But Official Secrets is another beast. Official Secrets categorically boiled my blood. Shaking my head in disbelief by the events that happened, the overwhelming sense of betrayal flooded my soul. "9/11" was the most dreadful terrorist attack to ever take place. Fact. But Bush's response was questionable at best, and the events depicted here act as a window into the political deceit that unfolded. Socialist propaganda. I shan't force my own political viewpoints through, but suffice to say I loathe the Iraq Invasion with a passion. Quite frankly, it was disgusting.

Hood maintains a semi-neutral perspective throughout, allowing audiences to question Gun's motives as either inspiring or traitorous. Knightley commands every scene with a touch of naivety that progressed Gun into being a representative of the people. Fully acknowledging the infringement the Official Secrets Act, she took it upon herself to clear her conscious. Incredibly inspiring, and well documented by Hood who intricately ramped up the tension when required. Smith, portraying a reporter from The Observer, managed to break away from his infamous sci-fi character and delivered a nuanced yet emergent performance. Fiennes, Ifans and Goode also leading the charge for the excellent British cast.

The Bernstein's screenplay was tight, taut and tense. Many scenes, particularly when Gun is questioned by Scotland Yard detectives, evoked pure morality and bravery through the concise vocabulary used. Frequently referring to the governmental lies bestowed upon the nation. The various narrative time shifts did produce some inconsistent pacing, but manages to efficiently smooth out the wrinkles shortly afterwards.

Hood never cloaks the story. He attacked Labour's political agenda head on, without inferring his own perspective. By simply documenting the events, he has created one of the best thrillers of the year that really must be watched. There are no secrets left to hide anymore.


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