The new political melodrama starring Keira Knightley (Collateral Beauty) as a British surveillance agency translator whistleblower gets caught up in its languor and excesses to try and make an earnest tale of injustice taut and vital.
Official Secrets comes from Gavin Hood (who co-writes) and can’t untangle the politics and personal when it comes to events preceding the start of the Iraq Was in 2003 and the fallout which lasts into the following year.
Perhaps detrimental here is how much of the proceedings has that artificial synthesized quality that clicks more in the annuls of Great Britain than the US as how Knightley’s seemingly ordinary Katharine Gun reacted to an electronic memo ended up essentially squashed by the media of the later.
That e-Mail which she leaked to England’s major publication ‘The Observer’ was about obtaining intel (read: blackmail) on half a dozen U.N. Security Council country even though she knew the edict supported illicit circumstances which would be very costly.
The now mid-30s acclaimed actress has charmed audience (for nearly two decades) whether in a corset or opposite Johnny Depp, but is limited by the uneven approach by Hood (who excelled in a moral relativistic motif in Eye In The Sky – which concerned drone warfare). Even if she has moments of vulnerability along with tenacious resolve, the instructive manner, the filmmakers instill a documentary realism using important figures of the era like Tony Blair and George W. Bush.
The British cast surrounding Knightley includes Matthew Goode, Rhys Ifans, and Ralph Fiennes as a pragmatic legalese. But reporter Martin Bright allows Matt Smith to use an unctuous charm to good effect in aiming to publish clearly what would be a jarring account.
Secrets has plenty of probing, official business on its mind; yet its keyed-up machinations with the story and characters that inadvertently puts an intrepid figure on the back burner considering how the last reel unfolds. What could have been a scathing, poignant procedural with a truly nuanced protagonist ultimately becomes traditional Knightley news.