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Official Secrets

Directed by Gavin Hood Starring Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Rhys Ifans, Adam Bakri, Ralph Fiennes Clear Pictures 112 Minutes Category 15

This film is based on the true story of the GCHQ whistleblower who leaked a secret memo to the press suggesting that the legal case for the 2003 Iraq War was based on falsehood.

Katharine Gun is played superbly by Keira Knightly; her taut acting captures well the dilemma of choosing to allow the Official Secrets Act to silence her or respond to the growing impulse to tell the truth. Gun struggles with her conscience, and when she discovers that in her own words Tony Blair appeared to be “manufacturing facts,” she risks everything.    

It is a one-woman mission to make sure that the UK is not misinformed in the build-up to seeking the United Nations resolution to authorise the Iraq War. This is all very relevant in an age that has been seduced by spin, duped by fake news and sucked into a post-truth world.

Christians will find the strong language hard to take at times, but the film raises some important ethical questions.

What would we do in such circumstances? Would we be silent, or would we speak out? What do we do when doing the right thing is illegal and what is legal appears to be wrong? Are there times when we are called like the early Apostles to “Obey God rather than men?”

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex

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