Official Secrets Review
Dan Skip Allen
September 11th 2001 is a day that will forever be embedded in people’s minds in this country. I know I will always remember what I was doing and where I was on that day. Because of that our president at the time, George W Bush, somehow convinced the country it wasn’t Al Qaeda but it was Sadam Husseins’s doing. So he tried to get the rest of the world to join him in starting a war with Hussein and Iraq. Tony Blair, the prime minister of Great Britain at the time was an ally of ours. He was on board with Bush’s plan. The problem is the rest of the world wasn’t on board with that plan. That’s where Official Secrets picks up.
Kiera Knightley portrays, Katherine Gunn, a woman who works at GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters). She basically spies on the British people’s phone calls. One day she get a suspicious email which makes her upset. Matt Smith, most famous for playing Doctor Who portrays a reporter for the British newspaper The Observer. He gets a letter in the mail that says exactly what Gunn’s email said. She has now become a whistleblower. Official Secrets also stars Rhys Ifans as an American correspondent for the Observer, Matthew Goode as Peter Beaumont an editor for the Observer and Ralph Fiennes as a lawyer. This director Gavin Hood has assembled an all star cast for his political thriller.
Hollywood has done a great job over the years of adapting controversial political stories into movies. Official Secrets does more of the same. It gives you the whole story and lets you as the viewer decide if what the story they are providing you is told properly and does its job effectively. Official Secrets does that in spades. The cast does a phenomenal job of portraying this story as well.
Gavin Hood is no stranger to directing controversial films during his career. Most famous for Tsotsi about a gang leader in Johannesburg South Africa. He has also done films such as Rendition about a man who gets unjustly arrested for a terrorist bombing and Eye in the Sky about a potential drone attack. He doesn’t shy away from these types of topics. Official Secrets is right in his wheelhouse. We need more filmmakers making great films like this and taking chances with tough stories and controversial subject matters.
Official Secrets tells a great story! It’s the other side of the Valerie Plame story really. From the British point of view. Gavin Hood made a film that touches on things we’ve heard before but does it in a satisfying way. The cast all did their jobs superbly as well. I never get tired of stories that make the war in Iraq look like a dumb move by our government and the world. I’m glad people are telling these stories. This film was an enjoyable experience all the way around. As the years go by we keep seeing films showing that the Bush administration fooled this country. You just can’t trust your politicians.
Dan Skip Allen