Official Secrets (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gavin Hood|
|Based on||The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War|
by Marcia & Thomas Mitchell
|Edited by||Megan Gill|
|Box office||$5.5 million|
Official Secrets is a 2019 British-American docudrama film based on the life of whistleblower Katharine Gun who leaked a memo detailing that the United States had eavesdropped on diplomats from countries tasked with passing a second United Nations resolution on the invasion of Iraq. The film is directed by Gavin Hood, and Gun is portrayed by Keira Knightley. The film also stars Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Adam Bakri, Indira Varma, and Ralph Fiennes.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 28 January 2019 and was released in the United States on 30 August 2019, by IFC Films, and in the United Kingdom on 18 October 2019, by Entertainment One.
The true story of GCHQ employee Katharine Gun, who leaked a secret memo exposing an illegal spying operation by the United States of America, looking for information with which to gauge sentiment of and potentially blackmail United Nations diplomats tasked to vote on a resolution regarding the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
- Keira Knightley as Katharine Gun
- Matt Smith as Martin Bright
- Matthew Goode as Peter Beaumont
- Rhys Ifans as Ed Vulliamy
- Adam Bakri as Yasar Gun
- Indira Varma as Shami Chakrabarti
- Ralph Fiennes as Ben Emmerson
- Conleth Hill as Roger Alton
- Tamsin Greig as Elizabeth Wilmshurst
- Hattie Morahan as Yvonne Ridley
- Ray Panthaki as Kamal Ahmed
- Angus Wright as Mark Ellison
- Chris Larkin as Nigel Jones, Baron Jones of Cheltenham
- Monica Dolan as Fiona Bygate
- Jack Farthing as Andy Dumfries
- Clive Francis as Admiral Nick Wilkinson
- John Heffernan as James Welch
- Kenneth Cranham as Judge Hyam
- Darrell D'Silva as Chilean Ambassador
- Janie Dee as Jan Clements
- MyAnna Buring as Jasmine
- Niccy Lin as Mi-Yung
- Chris Reilly as Jerry
- Shaun Dooley as John
- Peter Guinness as TinTin
- Hanako Footman as Nicole Mowbray
- Jeremy Northam as Ken Macdonald
The project began development in January 2016, with Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, Paul Bettany, Natalie Dormer and Martin Freeman cast in the film, and a filming start of May announced. Tahar Rahim and Gillian Anderson were cast during the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival. However by June 2017, filming had yet to begin, and cast member Anderson stated she hadn't heard anything about the project since being cast.
By January 2018, the project was redeveloped, with Gavin Hood now set to direct in place of Justin Chadwick, and Keira Knightley and Matt Smith cast in February, with the actors initially cast no longer involved in the film. In March, Ralph Fiennes and Matthew Goode joined the cast, with filming beginning on 12 March 2018 in Yorkshire. Filming took place in the village of Boston Spa on 14 March. Indira Varma, Conleth Hill and Tamsin Greig joined the cast the next day. Filming had moved to Manchester by 19 March, serving as a stand-in for London. Filming was undertaken in April 2018 in Liverpool's St George's Hall.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 28 January 2019. Shortly after, IFC Films acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film. It was released in the United States on 30 August 2019. It was previously scheduled to be released on 23 August 2019. and in the United Kingdom on 18 October 2019.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 82% based on 107 reviews, with an average rating of 6.81/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Official Secrets has a familiar structure and an obvious if worthy message, but rises on the strength of Keira Knightley's powerful performance."
In an article about the film and Katherine Gun, Sam Husseini wrote that "having followed this story from the start, I find this film to be, by Hollywood standards, a remarkably accurate account of what has happened to date—'to date' because the wider story still isn’t really over".
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- White, Peter (15 March 2018). "'Game Of Thrones' Indira Varma & Conleth Hill Join Gavin Hood's 'Official Secrets'". Deadline.com.
- Bardsley, Andrew (19 March 2018). "Manchester transformed into London as Keira Knightley arrives in town for new film". Manchester Evening News.
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- Siegel, Tatiana (2 February 2019). "Sundance: Keira Knightly Whistleblower Drama 'Official Secrets' Acquired by IFC Films". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Official Secrets". IFC Films. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
- Pederson, Erik (2 April 2019). "'Official Secrets': Keira Knightley-Ralph Fiennes Whistleblower Thriller Gets Release Date Via IFC Films". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
- "Official Secrets: Keira Knightley stars in story of Iraq war whistleblower – trailer". TheGuardian.com. 12 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
- "Official Secrets (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
- Husseini, Sam (30 August 2019). "Film Official Secrets Is Tip of Mammoth Iceberg". FAIR. Retrieved 31 August 2019.