Eye in the Sky – Film Review V2.0


Eye in the Sky – Film Review by Fran Winston

Directed by: Gavin Hood

Starring: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam, Iain Glen

In cinemas April 15th

George Orwell’s prophecy of Big Brother watching us is truer than ever these days as we seem to be under almost constant surveillance as we go about our day to day lives. Obviously the average person on the street has nothing to hide but for criminals and terrorists it means they have to be ever more clandestine. And as they do this so security measures must increase and so the circle goes on and on. This film looks at the impact drone surveillance is having on the fight against terrorism while taking into accounted the aforementioned people on the street and the effect it has on them.

Mirren plays Colonel Katherine Powell who has been tracking high-level terror suspects from her base in Sussex using US military drone technology. When some of the world’s most wanted terrorists gather in a safe house in Nairobi she determines that this is her opportunity to strike on them. However when her superior Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Rickman) reveals her intention to the UK government and asks for authorisation the situation becomes more complex. Realising that this is a residential area and that there could be civilian casualties they are reluctant to give the order and start seeking approval from other world powers. However they then discover that the terrorists have explosives and are preparing two suicide bombers making time of the essence if they are to wipe out these threats to humanity. But will the collateral damage prove too much to justify a strike even on those who threaten the safety of hundreds of people?

This is probably one of the tensest thrillers you will ever see. Since most of the protagonists are watching events unfold on screen from bunkers or cabinet rooms you get a sense of claustrophobia and urgency that is only compounded by some amazing performances. The late Alan Rickman gives a Tour de Force as the hardened military man who must push people to make difficult decisions while Mirren is at her steeliest as the woman in a man’s world determined to do what she believes is best. However Aaron Paul also gives a noteworthy performance as the drone pilot who will ultimately have to carry out the strike and live with any loss of life.

Well scripted and paced there is some amazing cinematography here. It would have been very easy to make this a high octane “blow ‘em up” type of movie but instead some thoughtful direction and warm moments make it a very human story. You will find yourself debating the rights and wrongs of decisions made long after you leave and it will really open your eyes to the kind of dilemmas faced by those who track the terrorists who threaten the world we live in.

This is the kind of movie that leaves you with a lump in your throat rather than a warm fuzzy feeling and it is definitely thought provoking. Not always an easy watch this is nonetheless a wonderfully engaging drama that resonates long after it finishes.


Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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