Eye in the Sky (Review)

Directed by Gavin Hood, UK, 2016

Eye in the Sky is opening to a wide release this weekend, but I was fortunate enough to see a preview a couple of weekends ago.  The conflict in Eye in the Sky can be summarized as, “What the F do we do now?”

The British Army, with assists from the United States and Kenya, has a drone targeting a wanted terrorist.  Except it’s three wanted terrorists.  Oh and two other guys are trying on suicide bomb vests.  Fire and forget, right?  Wrong.  The problem is that there’s a little girl  selling bread outside the compound.

What follows is an intense, well-acted film about the consequences of waging a certain kind of war in the modern era.  The drone pilots are safe in Las Vegas (Aaron Paul and Phoebe Fox), and the officers calling the shots are safe in England (in separate locations, Alan Rickman and Helen Mirren).  The guy who’s in the most danger is a Somali-Kenyan operative (Barkhad Abdi).  Well the guy on the team anyway, the little girl is the most danger obviously.

The question the movie asks is a tough one to answer.  Do you let one innocent person die in order to potentially save dozens?  During previous eras of warfare, the answer seemed obvious.  When you’re flying a B-17 miles above the war, this isn’t something you think about.  In this instance, however, everyone involved can see the face of the girl in the crossfire.

Paul, Fox, Abdi, and Mirren are all great, as is the rest of the cast.  Of special note, this film is Alan Rickman’s last, as he passed away a couple of months back.  It’s good to see him go out on top.

You might like Eye in the Sky if: You are in the mood for an intense, morally ambiguous thriller.

You might not like Eye in the Sky if: You’re in the mood for something a bit lighter.

(c) 2016 D.G. McCabe