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Official Secrets POSTPONED CORONAVIRUS
7 April: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm£4 – £6
2019 – Certificate 15
– Official Secrets –
Official Secrets is based on the true case of Katharine Gun, a translator working for the British security services at the GCHQ surveillance unit in Cheltenham.
In 2003, she was astonished to receive an email making it plain that the United States were enlisting Britain’s help in collecting comprising information on United Nations Security Council representatives from small countries so that they could be blackmailed into voting for the war in Iraq and she was expected to find out incriminating personal details in their lives.
Gun printed out the email, and passed it to an anti-war friend, and it eventually formed the basis of a sensational front-page scoop in the Observer. So begins an explosive chain of events that will ignite an international firestorm, expose a vast political conspiracy and put Gun and her family directly in harm’s way.
Running Time 112 mins
Ratings Info 4 Star Cert 15
Director(s) Gavin Hood
Cast includes Matthew Goode, Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Indira Varma, Rhys Ifans, Matt Smith
Nominations & Awards 6 nominations and 4 wins
Keira Knightley gives a focused, plausible and sympathetic performance as Gun….The working life of the Observer is boisterously and affectionately represented.
There’s something interestingly tough and forthright about this slow-burner from director and co-writer Gavin Hood. It is a beady-eyed spy drama that has shrewd things to say about the British establishment’s tendency to spite under pressure, about the eternal duality of cockup and conspiracy, about the Kafkaesque problems involved in defending yourself legally against a treason charge, and, importantly, about the kind of young, vulnerable people that we end up depending on to tell us how we are governed.
… it shows a world that in some ways feels like yesterday and in other ways like a lifetime ago…. where the establishment was broadly, if unhappily, on board with supporting and joining the US military adventure in Iraq.
…if a film could be commended on its choice of subject matter alone, Official Secrets would be in the running for top prize.
The film bulks out its cast with strong supporting turns by recognisable faces. Matt Smith adds a wiry energy to Martin Bright, The Observer journalist who pushed to have Gun’s memo published, while Ralph Fiennes is pleasantly stoic as human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson, who defended Gun after the British government tried to charge her with treason. It’s Knightley, however, who finds a real sense of soul in the material.
Official Secrets is a film that, despite focusing on the recent past, says so much about what’s going on today that it becomes almost unmissable. At this precise moment in time, seeing power held so vividly to account has a real resonance.
Official Secrets becomes the most gripping of rollercoasters, as Gun’s email tortuously finds its way to a Sunday newspaper (which, until then, had been in favour of the war) where reporters – having no idea of its origins – struggle to determine whether it is real or fake.
Hers is a story without the traditional Hollywood ending……..But it’s a sign of its impact and Hood’s structural success that ….. there is no sense of anticlimax at all. An important story has been powerfully retold, and retold exceptionally well.
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