Eye in the Sky (2016) – Film Review

Timely and effective movie that’s entertaining and thought provoking


From the man that brought you X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) … Not an auspicious start but please keep reading.  Gavin Hood directs Eye in the Sky which sees Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell who has been tracking a extremist British convert who has joined up with terror group Al Shabaab.  She has a carefully set up mission to capture her target but when she discovers a suicide bombing being prepared she wants to change the plan and put a missile through the roof of the building containing the suspect.  This sets in motion a series of legal, moral and political debates within the COBRA committee in London.

While this film has tension and drama and action it is what is going on under the surface that makes it so compelling.  At a time when drone strikes have become the norm Eye in the Sky’s arrival is almost prescient.  It deftly examines the different dimensions of the debate of missions to kill leading terror suspects especially when those strikes are routinely taking place in built up areas with a high degree of probability of collateral damage.  The movie sets up the military and its frustration with civilian prevaricating over puling the trigger while the politicians seek to avoid responsibility and the US pilot of the drone played by Aaron Paul obsesses over avoiding any civilian casualties.  I have to say my one big issue with the film was the way Paul played the character of Steve Watts who is at the end balling like a baby over the prospect of firing a missile.  Just what was he expecting when he signed up for the job?  Surely the US military has better screening processes.

As a side note I believe this was the last film of the sadly departed Alan Rickman who plays Lieutenant General Frank Benson and tries to mediate between the parties.  Great way for him to bow out.  To summarise Eye in the Sky is top class drama that entertains and poses questions about modern geo-politics.  A must see for film enthusiasts.  My rating 4/5.


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