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384. Official Secrets; movie review

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Title : 384. Official Secrets; movie review
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Cert 15
112 mins
BBFC advice: Contains very strong language

Never have I been more passionate about voting for a potential Prime Minister than I was in backing Tony Blair in 1997.
He was young, promised us a bright future and took us away from the extremes of politics.
Indeed, he fulfilled much of his promise - helping Britain to become more prosperous and bringing confidence back to the country within its own borders and beyond.
I still can't fathom why he allowed his reputation to be sullied by entry into a war against Iraq.
In that regard, his name is dragged well and truly through the mud by Gavin Hood's Official Secrets - the true story about GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley).
Gun was a 28-year-old spy whose conscience forced her to reveal a memo which proved that dodgy deals were being done to get the war passed by the United Nations.
Thus, she went through an intermediary to get it into the hands of journalists at The Observer.
Matt Smith, Matthew Goode and Rhys Ifans play real, named reporters who were appalled at the paper's no-questioning war-backing stance and were keen for deeper investigation.
However, they could not protect their source because they were unaware of who she was.
So, what would you do if you saw your friends and colleagues fall under suspicion for something you did?
Indeed, the investigations and Gun's reaction is central to Hood's movie.
Interestingly, she also has to consider the fall-out on her husband (Adam Bakri) who is still awaiting a verdict on his permanent residency in the UK.
Intrigue is around every corner of a movie which inserts real-life footage of the countdown to the Iraqi war with a dramatisation of Gun's whistleblowing.
What I can say for sure is that it is a realistic portrayal of a newsroom and the conversations which are had over ethics and the law.
And, of course, I love a good journalism story - albeit that I was surprised at how The Observer's reporters and editor were willing to publish based on a scrap of paper from an unnamed person.
They trusted their instincts but I suspect they must have been soiling their pants at the same time.
Anyway, Knightley is impressive as the panicked but resolute Gun and I was rather taken with Ralph Fiennes as her Cockney libertarian lawyer.
But the real attraction here is the superbly told and utterly compelling story. How on earth can a spurious war happen in our lifetime?
Reasons to watch: Captivating true story
Reasons to avoid: Inevitably submerged in legalese

Laughs: None
Jumps: One
Vomit: Yes
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 9/10

Did you know? Because she struggled for work after her court case Katharine Gun left Britain and has been living in Turkey with her Turkish husband and their 11-year-old daughter.

Final word. Martin Bright: "It’s very important that the truth about what happened in the run-up to the Iraq War is finally getting its day in the sun in this way and cinema can do something that newspapers can’t do, which is bring this to a very, very wide public.”

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