Weapons of Mass Destruction. Remember when those words were spoken in regards to why our country ‘needed’ to go to war with Iraq? Remember when we were told that Saddam Hussein needed to be neutralized and that this was our country’s only way to prevent those weapons of mass destruction being used? Remember feeling that there was something slightly off about all of this? I do and so did Katherine Gun.
Katherine Gun (Keira Knightley) worked for a British Intelligence agency that handled nothing but classified information, until one day in 2003 she received a memo form the NSA stating that the United States was enlisting assistance from the UK in gathering compromising data on the United Nations Security Council members in order to blackmail them into voting in favor of an invasion of Iraq.
With a conscience that was vehemently against war, Gun leaks the memo to the press. A decision that resulted in an international firestorm of backlash putting her and her family in extreme danger.
It was utterly fascinating to see on screen the intense love of country Gun had to the extent that she would expose them as a failed attempt to start a ‘fake war.’ A war that resulted in millions of lives lost because government officials wanted to prevail at their game of political chess.
It was nice to see Keira Knightley delve into a character that was not incapsulated within a period piece. Don’t get me wrong. I love Keira in period films. I am just happy to see her breaking out of her norm to tackle something else. Knightley’s depth and skilled emotional well gives the audience a spot on idea of Katherine Gun’ emotional torture as this ordeal unfolded. The scene where she hauls it to Heathrow in an attempt to prevent her husband from being deported is gut-wrenching, as one can only imagine what it must feel like to have the government hit you where it hurts to bargain for your silence.
Every actor excels in bringing this true life story to the big screen. Gavin Hood’s direction is spot on and I loved how he intentionally infused brief footage of the real Katherine Gun after her sentence was withdrawn before returning back to the scripted narrative. It was a refreshingly creative.
Produced by IFC Films hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles on August 30th and is well worth the admission.