By Liz Lopez
Eye in the Sky is quite the thriller as viewers learn early in this film that the “eye” referred to are drones and metal spies. This warfare has perils as the military crews from multiple countries are in a race against time to at first capture individuals on a Most Wanted list, then the assignment is elevated to eliminating said individuals as the “eyes” reveal much more to leaders of the operation. Eye in the Sky is directed by Gavin Hood (Tsotsi), from a screenplay by Guy Hibbert (Five Minutes of Heaven), and it is suspenseful as the viewer “takes part” of this operation to eliminate terrorists. There are several scenes where it appears as if viewing through the devices with “eyes.”
Eye in the Sky has a few scenes that remind me of another film I saw last year, Good Kill (Andrew Niccol) starring Ethan Hawke as a drone operator in Las Vegas requiring him to deploy missiles that resulted in casualties of women and children in Afghanistan. In Eye in the Sky, the targeted house where terrorists are meeting is in a crowded neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya. Deploying a Hellfire missile on a house where a young girl (Aisha Takow) sits to sell bread as part of the family income is not the easiest scene to view, nor is the emotion in the faces of those US military members about to pull the trigger as part of an operation led by a British officer, Col. Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren). She is hell-bent on capturing a radicalized English woman working with terrorists that has been pursued for years. Mirren is once again outstanding and definitely the reason to view this film that once again is on the topic of drones and so much more regarding legal vs. political reasons to act or not. Her performance is one that most likely will lead many who view this film to not necessarily like her character.
Colonel Powell is working with her superior, Lt. Gen. Frank Benson (Alan Rickman), to upgrade the action to be changed from “capture” to “kill.” When this is set in motion, the US military has approval to collaborate in the British operation and Steve Watts (Aaron Paul), a drone pilot in Las Vegas, is on shift with a recently certified soldier to launch the air-to-surface missile. Watts, like Hawke’s character in Good Kill, is not so eager to click the red button and there are definite times he is near tears.
Also starring in this film is Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), a Somali undercover agent who is discreetly managing the metal spy for this operation. He does what he can with an assignment to buy the young girl’s loaves in order to get her out of the targeted zone, but things don’t go as attempted.
This is Mr. Rickman’s final screen performance, and along with Mirren’s, it is a great one not to be missed from the onset, as at first he is taking some personal time, then later, to a final scene when he ends a conversation with a British official where the powers that be are making decisions.
I won’t spoil the scene by telling you what he says. Plan a trip to the theater and enjoy.
Eye in the Sky is rated R for violent images and strong language. It has a run time of 1 hour 42 minutes.