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Director Gavin Hood gives the proceedings a rousing electricity, and he’s aided by a cast which leans into the story’s urgency and continued relevance.
Los Angeles Times
A model of professionalism and energy, Official Secrets moves along at a brisk clip. It’s paced like a police procedural, but it focuses not on an investigator but rather a moral exemplar who takes a principled stand in defiance of the price that has to be paid.
The Hollywood Reporter
Hood (Eye in the Sky), his co-screenwriters Sara and Gregory Bernstein and a seasoned ensemble of Brit stage and screen pros deliver a straightforward, solidly old-fashioned slice of real-life espionage, journalistic and legal intrigue that gets the job done in engrossing, clear-eyed fashion even if it lacks much in the way of stylistic verve.
Gavin Hood wrings suspense out of the parsing of the nuances of evidence and the tapping of mysterious contacts.
Official Secrets, despite its blasé title, despite the fact that this “true” story isn’t on a LeCarre level, in spite of its paucity of dramatic outbursts, is still a most engrossing history reminder.
Official Secrets is a well-intentioned retelling of a daunting act of courage and as a vehicle for informing more people of who Katharine Gun is, it’s effective, carefully laying out the incremental stakes as well as her noble intentions. Credit for this however lies almost solely with Knightley.
The crux of Gun’s struggle is that she risked everything to tell the truth, and the war happened anyway. Ultimately, her personal story was neither uplifting, nor tragic, which means the film surrounding her doesn’t hurtle toward a satisfying arc.
The Film Stage
The story inside Official Secrets is one worth telling, but perhaps it would be better to read the book.
A capably rendered, urgently argued portrait in courage that never quite rises above curious-footnote status.
New York Post
Ralph Fiennes as Gun’s eventual lawyer, however, is totally forgettable, as is much of the standard-issue, self-important docudrama. So much of Gregory Bernstein, Sara Bernstein and Gavin Hood’s screenplay arrives with a thud that it might’ve been written with clenched fists. Knightley’s overwrought performance doesn’t help either.
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