Thursday, 28 April 2016

Eye In The Sky


Do you remember those " Balloon Debates" at school where the most articulate kids verbally fought for the chance not to be thrown out of the sinking airship? Depending on the strength of the arguements, I always tottered between one and another, swayed by emotion and logic.
Eye In The Sky relies heavily on that notion of powerful arguement as the film is set in the new moral maze of drone warfare.
Put simply, military compounds in the Uk and the US watch a Muslim terrorist cell in a township in Kenya. The cell houses known insurgents as well as two suicide bombers and in real time we watch as the far removed military personnel who make the kill decisions and the politicians who sanction them, deal with the knotty ethical and practical decisions of taking out the terrorists in a friendly county where local innocents ( namely a small Muslim girl selling bread) will be killed in the crossfire.

It's a taut and at times unbearably tense movie that never quite takes one side or another, and it's that very ambiguity that unsettles the watcher so effectively. As the  politicians ( Jeremy Northern and Monica Dolan)  seesaw out of making a decisiobn by referring the decision ever upwards, the hard bitten UK based soldiers Alan Rickman and Helen Mirren,who have been chasing the terrorists for six years, try to manipulate the situation to launch the drone, a drone which is piloted remotely by mortified Nevada based soldiers Aaron Paul and rookie Phoebe Fox, who have never killed before.

Interestingly, as all this angst and decision making ensues in America and Britain , only one Somali agent ( Barkhad Abdi) is risking his life to monitor the terrorist cell and in the end only he tries to save the young bread seller from the ensuing attack.

Eye in the Sky leaves the audience divided and thoughtful.
Modern warfare has never been portrayed so chillingly on film since Dr Strangelove
8/10

14 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to see this. Thanks for the review!!! I wondered if it would be too heavy handed one way or the other but it sounds like it balances it out...which can be all the more disturbing...

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  2. I'm trying to avoid tense current day stuff at the moment...don't need the anxiety.....but would like to have seen Alan Rickman, who I thought was so handsome.

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  3. I'm honoured to echo (have pre-echoed?) your opinion of this film, J.G., as you already know - and, furthermore, with a review much more profound, cogent and concise than I managed.

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    1. Don't short-change yourself, Ray, your review was eloquent enough for me to book a seat to see this at our village cinema next week. :)

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    2. Well, I'm relieved that I hadn't put you off, Judith, which would have been a travesty for this remarkable film. I do hope you enjoy(ed?) it. Thanks anyway.

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  4. I don't wnt to see this John. I am a 'bury my head in the sand' kind of person.

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  5. I saw it last night and agree it is chilling and powerful. I remember hearing or reading that drone pilots have a high burnout rate because, unlike traditional bombers, they actually see people die.
    Good review.
    Cheers

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  7. Great review....I`m wanting to watch this now

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  8. Thanks for the review. It's just moved up a little higher on my "to be seen" list.

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  9. Thank you for the review. This will break my heart in a million pieces, which means I have to see it.

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  10. Just saw it. Had the same thoughts as you. And then wondered, what's the next step - how far can warfare go? Because it ain't going away, sadly.
    Mirren and Rickman were wonderful as usual. So sad that he is gone, he was a marvelous actor.

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  11. Great review. You can always turn to journalism when the nursing becomes too arduous. How wrong we are to decry drone warfare as impersonal.

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