Eye in the Sky – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

March 17, 2016 by Roz Tarszisz
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Two British treasures  – Alan Rickman (in one of his last appearances) and Helen Mirren bring their finely honed skills to this modern thriller, so it’s already off to a good start.

The eye in the sky is a high-tech surveillance drone, manipulated remotely from a great distance which sees everything in view on the ground in its sights.  There is no hiding from this eye.

Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is somewhere in England. The drone, hovering over Kenya, is controlled by US Military Forces from the Nevada desert. The Kenyan Army is on standby.  Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) waits in London with government officials, watching the action on multiple screens.

Powell is in charge of the joint operation to capture internationally wanted terrorists at a safe house in a Nairobi suburb. In the beginning, she stresses that this is a capture only.  When the watchers discover the targets are now involved in arming two suicide bombers, it escalates to a mission to kill.

But just as the Nevada-based drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) prepares to launch a powerful Hellfire missile at the safe house, a young  girl is spotted in the kill zone, sparking an international debate at the highest levels of government about whether saving one child’s life is worth the almost certain death of many others.

Time is running out and Powell and Benson are frustrated.

“We have two suicide bombers in that house and no-one wants to take responsibility” she says.

Meanwhile, local operative Jama Farah (Barkhad Abdi) risks everything and attempts to get the girl to safety.

Life and death decisions need to be made swiftly as conditions change on the ground and it all combines to provide heart-stopping viewing.   There will be those who object to the idea of a Big Brother watching us from the sky but I was fascinated by the technology even though there is discomfort at an innocent young girl being described as “a collateral damage issue”.

It‘s exhilarating, terrifying and completely enthralling.  Director Gavin Hood (who, BTW, plays Powell’s counterpart in Nevada) has skilfully brought all the strands together. The elegant Mirren even manages to rock her camouflage gear, but then she always inhabits the parts she plays.  Enjoy the action and tremble at the moral dilemmas.

4/5  2015 Released March 24  Rated M 102 mins

Starring Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi

Directed by Gavin Hood

Written by Guy Hibbert

Cinematography by  Haris Zambarloukos



One Response to “Eye in the Sky – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz”
  1. Hilary Rubinstein says:

    Alan Rickman, whose Rachel Corrie play did so much to help the demonisation of Israel oeuvre, “a British treasure”? I beg to differ.

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