There may be irony in the fact that in a week when a whistleblower has triggered impeachment proceedings in the USA, I go see a movie about another brave soul who leaked info on the Blair and Bush governments using coercion and lies to start the Iraq War. I didn’t plan it that way. Unexpectedly off work early on a Friday afternoon, I originally went to see Once Upon A Time In Hollywood but the cinema cancelled that showing. I settled on Official Secrets.
The movie is based on the true story of Katharine Gun. She was a British Intelligence agent who leaked the request from the Americans to rig a U.N. vote for war. She subsequently confessed to the leak and for a year or so, her life was turned upside down.
The events that make up the story are interesting. Gun, played by Keira Knightley, was an interesting figure and it was a monumental decision she made. However, Knightley (whom I usually like) was almost too low-key in her approach to this role.
I’m not sure it was her fault. The script focused more on the events of the story than the people involved. Very little script time is devoted to knowing the characters intimately. Consequently, there is a stark lack of character inner-turmoil or motivation. The movie suffers from this void.
The acting with Knightley, and a great cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, is adequate but they never get to really shine due to the focus of the story being elsewhere. I’m pretty sure I would’ve enjoyed Once Upon A Time In Hollywood more, but I still give this 4 of 5 on the rating scale. SImply because it is an interesting footnote in the history of our time.