“Eye in the Sky (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)” is a sobering, thorough look at the grinding machinery behind a modern-day drone strike. The stellar film takes the perspectives of all involved in the planned strike:
- Bumbling bureaucrats
- Calculated military officers
- Human rights objectors
- Soldiers bearing the weight of responsibility all the way to the drone in the sky.
Director Gavin Hood (“Rendition”) avoids the preaching, the sensationalism, in his telling of this worldwide tale. He takes an almost Sidney Lumet approach to the exhilarating, but slow building thrill ride.
Helen Mirren stars as Col. Katherine Powell. She’s the motivating force behind an effort to capture a radicalized British woman in Africa. The effort includes assets from all over the world.
Lt. Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is the “eye in the sky” controlling the drone and keeping tabs on the enemy.
The late Alan Rickman plays the general working with the Attorney General and others for approval on various steps to the mission.
Jama (Barkhad Abdi of “Captain Phillips” fame) is the man on the ground.
We also get a look into a family living in the area under surveillance. Their village is controlled by radicals, making it dangerous for those trying to give a better future to their daughter in ways forbidden by the extremists.
“Eye in the Sky” does what the best art can do: it challenges us without a skewed view of the world. It shows every facet of a potential drone strike, leaving the audience to make decisions along with the characters on screen.
The movie begins with the quote, “In war, truth is the first casualty” from Greek philosopher Aeschylus. In order to live up to that quote, the film shows every truth to the events unraveling.
After learning the catch and grab mission has turned more complicated, the film shows the repercussions of various decisions that make their way through political red tape.
The ending action is simple. A man in a room pulls a trigger and someone bad thousands of miles away is kept from doing something awful. Director Hood and writer Guy Hibbert show the event, before and after, for everything it has to offer. Everyone’s truth is told, from Col. Powell’s to Watts’, to the impending “casualties” of war.
What works so well about “Eye in the Sky” is its simplicity, its willingness to tell a tale and explore a world, rather than to manipulate it. By putting the soapbox away, the movie ends not with a definitive point, but with mixed emotions felt by all.
FAST FACT: Director Gavin Hood, after researching the film and its subject matter, said drone pilots suffer a higher percentage of post traumatic stress than fighter pilots.
“Eye in the Sky” is one of the best films about the War on Terror. It’s a must watch for anyone concerned or interested in the place of modern warfare. No matter what side you’re on, what opinions you hold, you’ll walk away from the film as sober and melancholy as those in the movie.
“Eye in the Sky (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)” includes two special features further delving into the complex questions and issues raised by the film.