The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

  • Indira VarmaKeira Knightley...
  • BiographyDrama...
  • Gavin Hood
reviewed by
Yasmeen Mamdouh
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Official Secrets: Would You Tell the Truth?‎

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Would you always tell the truth no matter what? What if it means facing enormous consequences? What if it also means you can save millions of lives? Official Secrets asks and answers these questions about Katherine Gun, who risked everything in attempts to stop a war.

The film follows translator at the British Government Communications Headquarters, Katherine Gun (Keira Knightley), just shortly before the Iraq war in 2003. Katherine is an average British citizen until she and her colleagues receive a memo forwarded from an American party, asking them to collect information on United Nations voters in order to blackmail them into voting for the war. Katherine is appalled at the lies and thinks that leaking the memo could gather opposition against the war, but what she didn’t know is that her life and role in history will never be the same.

The plot is based on actual events, with some archive footage of the real-life Katherine Gun at the end of the feature. The premise of the plot is fascinating and has you wondering why it wasn’t made into a movie much earlier.

Even though the plot is somewhat stretched over the almost two-hour runtime, there are rarely any moments for the audience to feel bored, as tension is always there as to the fate of Katherine.

Through that runtime, the film has audiences contemplating several themes, including the consequences of war, government deception of the people, what it costs to tell the truth, and more interesting concepts that are just as relevant today as they were at the time of the war.

For the acting, Keira Knightley’s performance was overflowing with charisma, keeping audiences hooked on her every word, to the extent of not seeming like the average person that Katherine supposedly was. Playing the journalist who published the memo, Matt Smith’s performance was subtle yet very plausible, and he was able to give his character some dimension. Playing Katherine’s lawyer, Ralph Fiennes captured the audience with his gazes and commands such control and respect on-screen, even though his role is not the biggest in the feature.

Official Secrets is a film that will have you contemplating the past, the present, and the future, what you would do in Katherine’s situation, and why it may cost someone everything just to tell the truth.


Like This? Try

American Sniper (2014), Eye in the Sky (2015), Snowden (2016).

360 Tip

Keira Knightley and Matthews Goode appeared together in The Imitation Game.

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