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Official Secrets (2019)


Eight of us joined together on Zoom to discuss last night’s showing of Official Secrets. Interspersed with this were our own feelings about and strong memories of the Iraq War. We generally did like the film, and felt relieved, if not uplifted at the end, when whistle-blower Katharine Gun triumphs against the government.


Our feelings about Keira Knightly’s portrayal of the lead character were mixed. Some of us felt that she did not have enough gravitas or presence for the role. We were surprised that she was so different from the real Katharine, who is shown at the end of the film. Others felt that she did portray her ordinary but strong qualities well and expressed the character’s vulnerability. She was “a small pawn on a big board.”


We discussed the sense of tension in the film and whether the menacing scene on the train with secret service men staring at Katharine was over the top or not. Some of us would have preferred to know more about her husband’s story. We were intrigued to learn more about her life now.


Some of us suggested further films about whistle-blowers, including Defence of the Realm, Serpico, Erin Brockovitch, Snowdon and Silkwood. The final fishing scene between the two opposing legal teams was particularly appreciated.


We ended by thanking John for his leadership of the Zoom this week and agreeing that although the timing may not work for everyone, the online film discussions were very worthwhile indeed.


Anne Goldstein

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Rusthall Community Cinema, Sunnyside Community Hall, Rusthall Road, Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8RA.  hello@RusthallCinema.club