“Official Secrets”

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I just read a New York Times news lead that President Trump said whoever provided information to the Ukraine whistleblower was a spy and guilty of treason. And, coincidentally or not, last night I saw “Official Secrets,” a whistleblower thriller starring the magnetic and convincing Keira Knightley as Katharine Gun, a true-story British Intelligence staffer who blew the whistle about corrupt intelligence practices that helped lead up to the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

In the course of her normal routine at her keyboard as a translator, Katharine discovers that the U.S. is pressuring Britain to help drum up dirt on the UN Security Council members who are against the invasion, hoping to use the information to twist their vote to support the war.

Classic whistleblower story unfolds—the release of information, media frenzy, personal danger, showdown with the truth and the law—but it’s all delivered in an expertly-paced tale. Katharine’s immigrant Muslim husband adds complication and subplot. Knightley is well-suited to the roll. I can see her playing in more contemporary drama—mother, a cop, a tech executive.  

Admittedly, I’m a fan of the whistleblower genre. Serpico, China Syndrome, Silkwood, The Insider. So many more good movies. It’s the perfect character conflict: the ethical demand to speak up against the deep consequences of doing so.

My only gripe about Official Secrets were the spurts of dialog that sounded more like position talking points and less like an authentic character speaking. On the plus side, the timing of my seeing this movie: on this day of talk talk talk about Trump impeachment.

4/5 Stars

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By David Klein

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, avid reader, discriminating watcher of movies and series.

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