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Official Secrets
MR_Heraclius11 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
If you want to become freshly enraged about the massive war crime we call the Iraq war, go see this film. Perhaps the most emotionally distressing aspect is the underlying knowledge that absolutely nothing has changed on any level of power, in any way, since this extraordinary deception.

Bush and Blair continue to be celebrated in high society.

Intelligence agencies continue to illicitly gather compromising material to use as blackmail and extortion on people who might stand in the way of this war-for-profit gravy train.

We continue to be deliberately and criminally deceived about these so-called humanitarian wars by a media that continues their fawning sycophantic support of the war-loving establishment.

The butchery-for-Raytheon profits continue with no end in sight.

It's a great yarn well told, Knightly is perfect as Katharine Gun, and it has a lot of very interesting old footage from the time which will have you shouting at the screen in frustration. But the effect on most will be excruciating cognitive dissonance between the world we think we live in and the actual power structures that manipulate us into handing our tax money over to kill poor people overseas for geostrategic reasons that benefit no one except the very rich and powerful.
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Good for her
drjgardner7 September 2019
This film is based on a true story of a woman working for the British government who leaked a document to the press so that the Iraqui war might not happen. In case you've forgotten, that war was started under the false premise that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction" and they were planning to use them with anti-western forces top launch attacks. Both allegations were blatant lies, trumped up by the Bush administration, but at the time, many people believed them and in fact, the US and the Brits went to war with hundreds of thousands of casualties.

The film is slow paced but the acting is excellent, especially from Ralph Fiennes who seems to utterly disappear into his roles. It's a case study of someone being willing to stand up for what she believes regardless of the consequences. There are precious few people like this, so every film that chronicles their struggle deserves to be seen.
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Must Watch Film
eamonn-1927 October 2019
This film is a true story and shows why we must never accept the spin that Presidents and Prime Ministers tell us to justify their actions. In 2019 we need to be more careful what we believe what our governments tell us.
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Understated but edge-of-the-seat stuff
jeremy-dent-627-31441626 October 2019
Beautifully-crafted production with great performances from the cast. It seems pointless regurgitating the plot because it is factual and well-known and, despite any real surprises, the director keeps the tension going. It just shows you can craft thoroughly enjoyable films taking the high moral ground without the ridiculous violence and coy sexuality of most Hollywood offerings. The core of the film is the ethical question of whether state employees act for the people or the government and the latter's privileged cronies and backers. Catherine Gun calls this into question and, despite the UK Government rephrasing the Official Secrets Act, she triumphs because of the duplicity of the then UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the obvious willingness of the USA to prosecute a patently illegal war with Iraq whatever the United Nations votes or does. The door to neo-liberalism creaks open a bit but then we all know what is behind it.
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A Dangerous Truth
ThomasDrufke21 September 2019
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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Brilliant screenplay, superb acting!
jhwaldo25 June 2019
The screenwriting magic of the incredibly talented husband and wife team of Bernstein and Bernstein bring this true story filled with spies, treason, love and war to the big screen. Though a true story and the ending is known, this film has the viewer balanced on the edge of their seat with suspense. Kiera Knightly's best performance to date and Ralph Fiennes is brilliant as her lawyer. Every performance is excellent in this must see film when it premieres in August 2019. (Viewed at the Nantucket Film Festival June 2019)
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Everyone should watch it
WatchAndSmile5 November 2019
Forget the great acting and all that. Watch it for the story as this is not an isolated incident and things like that happen every year again and again. Knowing what to believe and who NOT to believe and check the fact is of a great importance for everyone, and this film touches on this vital subject.

10/10 for a political thriller. If you are into dolls, harry potter and cartoons, it may not be your cup of tea so judge accordingly!
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Solid Political Thriller
truemythmedia8 August 2019
Official Secrets is a very well done and very important political thriller, it won the best Foreign Film Award at the Traverse City Film Festival that I attended, so that goes to prove that it has a lasting effect, and I agree. So if you're willing to believe in what the story is telling you, it has great performances and twists and turns throughout, it'll have you cheering for the protagonists and utterly booing the antagonists, if you're in the mood for a good solid political thriller I recommend Official Secrets.
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a tense whistle-blower morality play
CineMuseFilms26 June 2019
The release of Official Secrets (2019) coincides with the current US President telling the world he gladly accepts intelligence dirt on political opponents irrespective of source. With impeccable timing, the film shows how such dirt-gathering can potentially impact the course of history.

Based on real events, Katharine Gun (Keira Knightly) is a surveillance employee in Britain's Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ). In early 2003, she sees an email from an American intelligence agency seeking British support to illegally pressure six UN Security Council swing-states for war with Iraq (falsely claiming it possessed weapons of mass destruction). Highly principled and anti-war, Katharine passes on the email to a friend with journalist connections and within weeks it is on the front pages. She confesses her crime, and for the next year, her life is hell as she awaits trial under the Official Secrets Act.

If you have little interest in global politics or major world events, you may get lost in this dialogue-driven moral rights story. It is crafted into several narrative segments: Katharine's relationship to her Muslim immigrant husband; her relations with GCHQ colleagues; the role of The Observer newspaper; and legal arguments by defence and prosecution lawyers. Each is a separate and engaging story that culminates in a shock trial outcome in early 2004.

Official Secrets works at several levels, but it is Keira Knightly who keeps the film together. She exudes an effortless screen presence that holds audience attention despite an uncharacteristically understated performance. This ensures that attention is drawn away from herself to keep the spotlight on the morality of whistleblowing and the duplicity of US and British action in manipulating due process. Archival material on Tony Blair, George W. Bush, and Saddam Hussein defines the story's time and place with authenticity. The script is dense with explanation and legal argument but, at the core, it is a story of one individual who believes an illegal war is about to be declared and cannot bear the moral responsibility of doing nothing.

Much of the action takes place in The Observer newsroom as reporters grapple with the enormity of the information leak, the legal consequences of going to press, and the implications of silence. The interplay of commercial, legal, and political imperatives is well drawn by an excellent supporting cast and a filming style evocative of the loneliness that comes from being one voice standing on principle.

There continues to be real-life morality dramas involving high-profile whistle-blowers around the world, and the public is divided on whether they are heroes or villains. This film may help you decide.
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A really interesting take on a true story
trevorwomble6 November 2019
I was talked into going to see this and had my doubts as it seemed to be a variation on the Judi Dench film, Red Joan, which came out last year.

However, despite being a slow burn of a film, it does a very good job with the slightly staid script. The morality angle is very evenly addressed and the politics of the invasion of Iraq are laid bare. We all know now how the government of Tony Blair were sucked in to a war that had resolved very little (and may have made things worse) but to be in the know at the time and to stand up and be counted took great personal courage. And this conflict of interests is very well handled to its satisfactory resolution.

I must confess that Keira Knightley is not an actress I've ever warmed to but she does a decent job in the lead role. However the standout supporting actor to me is Matt Smith who's energy and dynamism as the journalist who doggedly pursues the story he is tipped off about really keeps the film ticking along.

Definitely worth a watch and hopefully it may make you question the honesty of governments in the future.
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jmholmes-7372724 September 2019
It belongs in the same category as SPOTLIGHT and ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN - a remarkable true story of how a British government employee risked everything to reveal classified information that exposed Tony Blair's collusion with President Bush to go to war against Iraq without any evidence to back up their claim that S. Hussein had those weapons of mass destruction. A great deal of good writing, acting and directorial skills have turned this "Sixty Minutes" sort of material into a very compelling and exciting thriller. It resonates with so much that is going on at this very minute in current U.S.A. crisis that every politically concerned movie-goer should track this down ASAP. A wonderful movie, one of the three best of this year so far.
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Well researched and truthful account of one person who tried to stop the illegal war with Iraq
azanti00296 November 2019
In the lead up to the war with Iraq which only the most dense and demented of people can't comprehend was an entirely illegal war based on an agenda pushed false premise from souped up intelligence, there were a number of decent human beings in position of importance who were able to leak to the press what was going on. In the case of one such person, a low level analyst for British Intelligence at GCHQ, she decided to do something about it, thus information was leaked to the press from a credible source where it was revealed the USA intelligence apparatus was listening into various UN council members in order to try and push the resolution for war with Iraq.

Thus Official Secrets tells this story with Keria Knightley (One of her best performances) as said analyst with the moral dilemma. The always dependable Matt Smith plays the Journo at the Observer newspaper who decides to blow the story, a paper which until that point had supported Tony Blairs agenda to go to war with Iraq. If you want the proof that Blair lied to the British people to suit his own agenda then look no further than this story (And don't take the films word for it, all the facts are out there to be found) And if any film illustrates more how such a man could have in fact gone down in history as one of the world's great leaders if he had said 'no' to the American agenda and listened to the British people, then its this one.

Gun, the analyst seeks neither publicity nor recognition for her actions but found it none the less. The collective cast of established British names make this drama very believable and play their characters with conviction. While it might not be the most gripping narrative it is never the less a vital history lesson and one that should be seen and appreciated the fully understand the courage of those involved. Recommended
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For anyone not completely detached from reality
neurocore6 October 2019
What a great movie . Keira Knightley rarely dissapoints and she certainly delivered in this film.

Tense, dramatic, real. There was not a single moment I was bored . It is such a heroic story that its impossible not to feel like one of them, fighting for whats right.

I went to this movie on a friday evening,the cinema was PACKED but this movie was shown in a 110 seat room and no more than 1/3 of the seats were filled. Nowadays people care about fiction more than reality.
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Really Enjoyable
agmoldham23 October 2019
Official Secrets studies the events that are happening in intelligence during the run up to the second gulf war. Having lived through the times myself was aware of the background to the movie, but unaware of the specific story that it explores.

Keira Knightly plays Katharine Gun who works at GCHQ collecting intelligence for the UK. She is concerned about the accuracy of the intelligence that is being used to prove the case for war. The British and American government need a resolution passing at the United Nations to legitimize the war. A memo is distributed to collect intelligence on the United Nations members that can be used to coax them into voting for the resolution. She is shocked by this and wants to stop the war.

In the same way that Brexit dominates British news at the moment WMD's dominated the next back then. The movie is good and shows the pressure that everybody is under. You get the chance to wonder whether you would make the same decisions as Katharine and whether she was right to do it.

I've never been a big fan of Knightly, but she does a fine job in Official Secrets. Well worth a watch.
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Gripping well told political thriller
byron-1169 November 2019
Excellently made film of true facts that should be seen by all who vote for our governments
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Kiera Knightley's powerful performance carries the movie
paul-allaer14 September 2019
"Official Secrets" (2019 release from the UK; 112 minutes) brings the story "based on actual events" we are reminded, of British whisleblower Katharine Gun. As the movie opens, it is "25 February 2004, London", and Gun is appearing in court. "As to the charge regarding the Official Secrets Act, do you please guilty or no guilty?, the court asks her. We then go "One Year Earlier, Cheltenham", as we get to know Gun, as she is watching Tony Blair on TV making the case for the war on Iraq. She works a the Government Communications Headquarters. Gun happens to get some very sensitive information regarding attempts to influence the votes of certain members of the UN Security Council. Gun is very upset and decides to leak the information... At this point we are 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see fort yourself how it all p[lays out.

Couple of comments: the movie is directed by veteran South African director (and co-writer) Gavin Hood ("X-Men Origins: Wolverine"). Here he brings the real life story of what happened to Katharine Gun. As we all know at this point, the Bush administration outright lied and manipulated the data so as to make the case for invading Iraq. The Blair administration wasn't much better. The movie is hence on the right side of the truth, but of course that is easy to do with 20/20 hindsight. Apart from the whistleblower case, the movie also brings to the front what happened at the Observer, the British newspaper that published the sensitive data. I quite enjoyed it all, and not only because I couldn't wait to find out how it would all end for Gun. Kiera Knightly plays Katharine Gun, and she plays it with passion and with determination. She is an absolute delight to watch her carry this movie on her shoulders. Ralph Fiennes is equally up to the task (as the non-profit lawyer representing Gun).

"Official Secrets" premiered to positive acclaim at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The movie opened on 2 or 3 screens in all of Greater Cincinnati this weekend. The Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended very nicely (about 25 people). If you have any interest in whisleblower cases or how the US and UK administration misled the public about the war in Iraq, I'd readily suggest you check out "Official Secrets", be it in the theater, on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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Smoking Gun
Padreviews20 October 2019
I advise you to see this without reading up on the true story .

I have to admit I didn't know the full story and I'm glad I didn't .

Superbly written , superbly acted , great cast , full of suspense and emotion

Great story telling about a true event , lies deceit , love and loss - they're all there

Drama / Thrillers don't get much better than this

With so much at stake - you have nothing but admiration for her bravery .

Pad.A 10/10
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Riveting modern day real life thriller
davideo-223 October 2019
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

In 2003, Katherine Gun (Keira Knightley), an employee of GCHQ, came across sensitive information suggesting America was putting pressure on the British government to gather spurious information to justify the invasion of Iraq. Already a fierce opponent of any military intervention, Katherine found herself compelled to act, and leaked information of this news to The Observer newspaper. When she was forced to reveal herself as the leaker, Katherine was plunged into a devastating spiral of events that threatened to rip her life apart.

It's a depressing moment when things you can remember happening very clearly at a fully developed point in your life have suddenly happened a very long time ago, and now have some kind of historical context to them. Even though the invasion of Iraq happened sixteen years ago, when I was a much younger man, considering the course of time that modern films can still engagingly cover, it's a pretty recent thing, and definitely one that there's still loads of interest in. And director Gavin Hood has seized upon that with this dramatization of a 'whistle blower' who was instrumental in exposing how corrupt the whole thing was.

Despite a pretty slow and dull beginning, that makes it feel more suited to a Sunday afternoon TV drama than a big screen affair, it gradually develops into something more riveting and compelling, really delving into all the juicy background corruption that went on behind our backs in the build-up to that war. Hood saturates the whole thing in a blurry, drained out camera style that allows for no respite from all the dramatic events unfolding. Knightley is reliably strong and commanding in the lead role, as a courageous young woman who pays a terrible price for confronting the powers that be, with stellar support from the likes of Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith and Adam Bakri.

This is the sort of adult, mature filmmaking people don't have so much time for these days, and will no doubt be out of theatres in no time, a shame since director Hood has delivered an impressive film, which, while not quite matching the nail biting tension of his previous military thriller Eye in the Sky, is still a shattering, uncomfortable indictment of how the state will persecute anyone who goes against it's wishes. ****
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Katharine, you did the right thing.
Sleepin_Dragon9 September 2020
The true life story of a woman who put the truth before career and personal life. The true life story of Katharine Gun, the brave young woman who leaked a document, telling us exactly what was happening in Iraq.

It's a terrific film, it focuses on a story which for many is still hard to swallow. It's such an exciting movie, crammed with tension, as a political story you may expect it to be slow, it isn't.

The performances are superb, Kiera Knightley is fantastic as Katharine, Ralph Fiennes and Matt Smith are also on point.

IMDb is a platform for reviewing films and shows, it's a terrific site, and not the place for my political views. I'll just leave this, this is the first time I've not switched off something featuring Tony Blair.

Great film, 8/10.
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Really interesting drama
imdb-ikysmoviedatabase31 August 2019
Really very intense political thriller great screen play and all cast did a fine job running time of 112 minutes is perfect didnt slow down any where and kept me griped really recommended
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Excellent, attention grabber from the first moment till its end.
panda-2931 October 2019
Excellent script, wonderful acting, grabbing my attention from its first appearance through to the finish. Thought provoking.
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Why isnt this movie promoted more?
campgreg30 September 2019
Excellent movie with above average story and acting. Why the studios didn't promote this better is a shame.

It would be worth your while to see this before it disappears from theaters.
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A great film with hard hitting truths
aulfatkhan14 September 2019
I wish this film was made 10 years ago.. shows courage and story is told perfectly. Bravo
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Today's All The President's Men, docudrama at it's best
FilmAddictJenn24 October 2019
Docudrama film at it's very best with a stellar cast, most of which are familiar faces, and led by Keira Knightly in one of her best roles yet (in my opinion).

There is no fancy make-up, hair or costumes (all of which I normally love), just great acting by all, great direction and a brilliantly written script based on a true story that's almost too incredible to believe, but we know it happened, and you'd think we'd know better now, but alas ...

It doesn't matter if you're not familiar with the events of the time; the story and people (as it's true story based on real people, not fictional characters) capture and carry you along from the start. I found it compelling viewing, calling out (under my breath) 'you B*'s' at one stage, when witnessing downright bullying and racism from the top!

Official Secrets will open your eyes to some of what goes on in the name of us, the public; showing the inconvenient truth, and how, by any means, illegal, manipulative, underhand, media puppetry, media-led and media-fed propaganda and hysteria, or otherwise, is used to push certain individual's, politician's, and political goals through, no matter the cost. I use 'is' as in the present tense, as we'd be fools to think that this kind of thing doesn't still go on today, in all levels of politics and business, domestic and worldwide.

Some may say this is an anti-war film and disrespects those who went to war. Others may say that there are disloyal aspects as Katherine Gun (the irony of her surname, hasn't passed me by) breached the 'official secret act', that that's treasonous and the law is the law, isn't it? No, it's not taking away anything away from who have fought. This is more of a we, the people and those who serve, have right to know the truth and make informed decisions film, and not be lied to or manipulated by those we elect and give our trust to. If you think otherwise, enjoy your shrouded, protected world; don't open your eyes or watch the film. I wouldn't blame you in a way.

This may not be the hyped up all entertaining popcorn blockbuster that you'd race to see, but I would urge everyone to see this film, who enjoys a well told, intellectual, meaningful story, and where you're interested in knowing facts rather than being kept in the dark.

This is today's equivalent of the classic 'All the President's Men'. Go be entertained and informed.

PS: No disrespect, but some younger people may well be confounded by the use of a banana shaped object connected to a base with a dial by a curly cord though 😉
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TruthPhoenix19 September 2019
Great film. Wonderfully true story. Sad that people need to go to these lengths for justice. Great cast. Timely with the prospect of the USA pivoting towards war with either Iran or China to prop up its economy. See it in the theater to vote for more like this. ;)
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