Posts Tagged ‘Tamsin Greig’

Manipulated Intelligence

Official Secrets

Director: Gavin Hood

Cast: Keira Knighley, Matthew Goode, Matt Smith, Rhys Ifans, Ralph Fiennes, Jeremy Northam, Indira Varma, Tamsin Greig, Jack Farthing, Conleth Hill

Set in London in 2003, South African director Gavin Hood’s British political film Official Secrets revolves around the complex story of Katherine Gunn who broke the Official Secrets Act and leaked highly classified Government information on British and American efforts to sway the vote in the UN in favour of a resolution legitimizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq on the dubious premise that Saddam Hussein was harbouring chemical weapons or weapons of mass destruction.

Oscar nominee Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) stars as the morally conflicted Katherine Gunn who despite working for a highly classified division of the British Foreign Office and Mi6 deliberately leaked a politically sensitive memo to The Observer newspaper in London whereby political news reporter Martin Bright played by The Crown star Matt Smith.

Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, Schindler’s List) reunites with Keira Knightley onscreen after their starring roles in director Saul Dibb’s magnificent costume drama The Duchess as he stars as human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson who decides to take on Gunn’s case in which she could be charged by the Crown prosecution for treason and for being a spy.

Official Secrets was Britain’s entry into the recent European Film Festival https://www.eurofilmfest.co.za/ which had recent screenings in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria in November before being released on the general circuit in December 2019.

Official Secrets is an engaging political thriller about manipulated intelligence and about the length powerful nations will go to, to legitimatize a foreign invasion even if the premise for such an invasion are both legally and morally flawed.

Featuring an array of British stars including Downton Abbey star Matthew Goode and Rhy Ifans along with Jeremy Northam and Poldark star Jack Farthing, Official Secrets is an engaging if slightly dark political thriller about recent events that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan by American and British forces.

Recommended for those that enjoy murky political thrillers, Official Secrets gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and is interesting but not nearly as brilliant as such films as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or The Constant Gardener.

A Blissful and Marvellous Reunion

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

2nd_best_exotic_marigold_hotel_ver2

Director: John Madden

Cast: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Diana Hardcastle, Richard Gere, Ronald Pickup, David Strathairn, Penelope Wilton, Bill Nighy, Tamsin Greig

After the surprise success of the delightful 2012 film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, it is no wonder that director John Madden decided to do a companion film and organize a more extravagant and blissful reunion of the cast of the first film with newcomers Richard Gere, no longer the Gigolo, and David Strathairn to make up the male parts for the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel set in Jaipur, Mumbai and San Diego.

Whilst the original film was a sort of bitter-sweet adventure, the second film is a celebration and continuation of everything so wonderful and colourful about the possibility of spending one’s Twilight years in the exotic location of Jaipur. This is Shady Pines with colour and vibrancy, wit and humour and proves that the older generation of actors can still pull off a charming and marvellous sequel infused with the energetic Sonny wonderfully played again by Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) and his impending wedding to Sunaina played by Tina Desai.

In The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Sonny has big plans for expansion and hopes to acquire another rambling hotel in Jaipur to extend his collection of gorgeous establishments for the aged and semi-retired. The scenes between Patel and veteran actress Maggie Smith are crackling with wit and exuberance especially as they approach a major hotel chain based in San Diego for some much needed venture capital to expand their business enterprise.

Back in India, director John Madden expands his palette from the first film and each shot of The Second Best Marigold Hotel is a simulacrum of all the great films made about that subcontinent from David Lean’s A Passage to India and Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding making for a positively blissful and gorgeous cinematic reunion.

Subtly directed and beautifully acted, although the story is at times whimsical, each of the British actors from Celia Imrie and Diana Hardcastle to Ronald Pickup and Bill Nighy have more scope and depth in this companion piece which will surely delight all audiences who so enjoyed The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Silver haired Richard Gere’s role as an enigmatic guest Guy Chambers and seducer of Sonny’s mom add to the romance of the Jaipur establishment. The structure of the film is centred around the marriage of Sonny and Sunaina from the lavish engagement party to the actual flamboyant and vibrant wedding. Intertwined with the portrait of young love, is the growing affection between Evelyn and Douglas played with the usual quirkiness by Bill Nighy.

The scenes between Dench and Smith are poignant and nuanced, both Oscar winning accomplished actresses as they give viewers a sense that their imminent cinematic retirement is drawing near, yet their stardom will last forever. Oscar winners Maggie Smith and Judi Dench have had amazing stage and screen careers and it is encouraging to see them still commanding the big screen in an age of the digital blockbuster.

2nd_best_exotic_marigold_hotel_ver3

Whilst The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is not as brilliant or as unique as the first film, it still stands on its own as a delightfully fine companion piece. Judging how packed the cinema was, there is a huge market out there for these gorgeous films aimed at retired viewers who are not always willing to sit through some of the Hollywood commercial cinema which makes up the bulk of the studio releases.

The Second Best Marigold Hotel is recommended viewing for those that enjoyed the first film, and similar movies like Enchanted April, Tea with Mussolini and Ladies in Lavender.

 

 

Film Directors & Festivals
Review Calender
August 2020
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
  • Justin Bieber and the Team Behind ‘Seasons’ on the ‘Power of Story’ and How ‘Hailey Stole the Show’
    Back in 2007, Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube by his soon-to-be manager Scooter Braun. The two skyrocketed to fame together seemingly overnight with the 2009 release of Bieber’s first single, “One Time.” At the ripe age of 13, Bieber’s path to stardom was set – but just a few years later, it all came […]
    Ellise Shafer
  • Daniel Dae Kim, Katie Chang and Scoot McNairy Board AMC Animated Drama ‘Pantheon’
    AMC’s upcoming animated drama “Pantheon” has rounded out its cast. Daniel Dae Kim, Katie Chang and Scoot McNairy have boarded the series, which was given a two-season order by AMC back in March. They join previously announced cast members Paul Dano, Taylor Schilling, Aaron Eckhart and Rosemarie Dewitt, among others. The one-hour show is based […]
    Will Thorne
  • AMC Networks to Develop Multiple True Crime Projects, Signs Four Creators to Talent Deals
    AMC is expanding its true crime slate with talent deals for four creators. Mona Chalabi, Naomi Ekperigin, Cameron Esposito, and Jena Friedman will all work with the company to develop original true crime series for its linear networks and streaming services. Left/Right and World of Wonder are on board to develop projects with AMC Studios […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • Tribeca Film Festival Sets 2021 Return
    After it was forced to scrub this year’s edition due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tribeca Film Festival has announced it will return in 2021. Next year’s festival will run from June 9 to 20 in New York City. “We look forward to celebrating the 20th anniversary and to honoring what our founders Jane Rosenthal […]
    Dave McNary
  • Trump’s Attack on WeChat and TikTok Highlights Cost of China’s Technological Rivalry
    If Donald Trump wanted to shore up America’s national security with his Thursday night executive orders pinpointing two Chinese apps, he has certain not achieved much. On the other hand, if he wanted to send a political message, and make it perfectly clear that China’s technological rivalry with America comes at a price, he succeeded […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90