Official Secrets

Critics Consensus

Official Secrets has a familiar structure and an obvious if worthy message, but rises on the strength of Keira Knightley's powerful performance.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 156

89%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 361

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Movie Info

She risked everything to stop an unjust war. Her government called her a traitor. Based on world-shaking true events, Official Secrets tells the gripping story of Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley), a British intelligence specialist whose job involves routine handling of classified information. One day in 2003, in the lead up to the Iraq War, Gun receives a memo from the NSA with a shocking directive: the United States is enlisting Britain's help in collecting compromising information on United Nations Security Council members in order to blackmail them into voting in favor of an invasion of Iraq. Unable to stand by and watch the world be rushed into an illegal war, Gun makes the gut-wrenching decision to defy her government and leak the memo to the press. 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.

Cast

Keira Knightley
as Katharine Gun
Adam Bakri
as Yasar Gun
Matthew Goode
as Peter Beaumont
John Hefferman
as James Welch
Ralph Fiennes
as Ben Emmerson
Indira Varma
as Shami Chakrabarti
Rhys Ifans
as Ed Vulliamy
Conleth Hill
as Roger Alton
Tamsin Greig
as Elizabeth Wilmshurst
Kenneth Cranham
as Judge Hyam
Katherine Kelly
as Jacqueline/MI6 Agent
Jeremy Northam
as Ken Macdonald
Hattie Morahan
as Yvonne Ridley
Jack Farthing
as Andy Dumfries
Monica Dolan
as Fiona Bygate
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News & Interviews for Official Secrets

Critic Reviews for Official Secrets

All Critics (156) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (130) | Rotten (26)

  • Knightley shines... in a performance that balances conviction and soul baring, and is all the more genuine for its lack of showiness.

    February 21, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The script, based on a book by Marcia and Thomas Mitchell, keeps layering in complexity, refusing to go dumb. And Knightley's performance gets steelier as she struggles to overcome her fears

    November 21, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • [Knightley's] smart not to play Gun as the noble martyr, but merely as an ordinary, frustrated citizen who makes a split-second decision.

    October 30, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • [H]obbled by fidelity, spatchcocked by earnestness, this film never takes off.

    October 18, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • While it'll do nothing to restore trust in the august bodies that rule the land, it's a pacy, palm-clammying watch.

    October 18, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • There's something interestingly tough and forthright about this slow-burner from director and co-writer Gavin Hood.

    October 18, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Official Secrets

  • Mar 23, 2020
    Official Secrets is a blatant piece of propaganda that attempts to rewrite history and deify the liberal media and their "whistleblower" allies. But if you can get past the politics, it's a pretty engaging drama. The film follows an antiwar British intelligence analysis who leaks a top secret memo in an attempt to prevent the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and is subsequently charged with treason after being caught. Starring Keira Knightley, Matt Smith‎, Matthew Goode, and Ralph Fiennes, the casts is quite impressive and delivers solid performances. And the writers do a good job at building suspense and tension. The dialog however, is rather poor and is preachy as all get-out with sanctimonious speeches about whistleblowing and the usual liberal antiwar rhetoric ("Blair lied," "illegal war," blah, blah, blah). Yet while it's a far cry from an objective depiction of events, Official Secrets is a fairly solid legal drama.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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