Eye in the Sky (2016)
Starring: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Iain Glen
Directed by: Gavin Hood
Written by: Guy Hibbert
Rating: R Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min
Eye in the Sky takes a look at a single anti-terror operation, and gives the audience a world view of the conflict and its many complicated moving parts. At its core, this is the classic moral argument; the needs of the many versus the few. Is one innocent life (in this case a young girl) worth sacrificing to stop a terrorist attack that could potentially kill and injure hundreds?
Absolutely, you might say. It’s logical to want to stop two suicide bombers running into a crowded mall, no matter what the collateral cost. But human beings aren’t always logical, and Eye in the Sky does a fantastic job of playing both sides of this debate without picking a side. On the one hand you have a driven Colonel, Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren), looking to complete a six-year long mission. On the other, the political establishment weighing the legal and propaganda fallout of a western backed assassination of key terrorist targets. Reluctant to pull the trigger for fear their actions will galvanize anti-western sentiment in the area.
It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a good “edge-of-your-seat” thriller. I was totally wrapped up in this story and its characters. The arguments made on either side of the film’s central premise are valid, and the impact of those decisions felt real. This film wants you to understand the big picture. This isn’t about making “the sand glow” as so many chicken-hawks espouse. This is about a complicated and flawed machine trying its best in the face of radicalized terrorists. An emotional tug of war as we fight to protect ourselves, and not abandon the ideals we hold dear.
This film is best enjoyed with a group as you’ll want to talk about it afterwards. Don’t go into this expecting high-octane action and pyrotechnics.
This movie isn’t a spectacle that requires a big screen to experience properly. A HD screening at home with some friends will service this film decently enough.
Best Moment: << spoilers >>
I loved how command HQ in England, and various big league operatives around the world were all watching the young girl sell her bread. Rooting for her to sell it all and get to a safe distance from their target.