Eye in the Sky

Eye in the Sky

Director: Gavin Hood

Rating: A-

Before seeing Eye in the Sky, a fairly topical military thriller that centres on the arguments around and ramifications of using drones in modern warfare, I had pretty high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. 

Dame Helen Mirren leads a pretty star-packed cast (Alan Rickman in one of his last performances, Aaron Paul - well known for his portrayal on Breaking Bad, and Iain Glen, aka that guy who plays Jorah Mormont in HBO’s Game of Thrones), which provides a solid and particularly human portrayal of the people and issues at hand. The film follows multiple groups of people in a number of locations; Nairobi, London, Nevada, Pearl Harbour and beyond. Instead of the ranging sets being annoying and hard to follow, the film seamlessly threads these multiple layers into a giant overarching struggle of morality, politics, terrorism, and (yeah, you guessed it) drones. Hence, over the 102 minute runtime, I experienced a gripping chain of events that involved the ‘yay or nay’ debate of launching a Hellfire missile attack on a small house in Nairobi. 

The film does a fantastic job of balancing its perspective in regards to a pretty serious issue. The humanization of the people involved (both the targets and those in charge of the mission) is there without being overbearing, while the ethical complexities, disconnectedness, and sheer scale of drone warfare is fairly represented. As a result, when the credits begin to roll I wasn’t sure where the film stood on the issue of nukes and their place in modern warfare—a feat I consider both admirable and difficult to achieve. This even-handedness is rather rare in politically oriented films and I enjoyed the way the film encouraged the viewer to develop their own take on the people and issues at hand. 

Aside from some minor cringe moments —times where a couple of actors perhaps found themselves overacting due to the fragmented setting and action of the film—Eye in the Sky is an interesting and quality watch.

This article first appeared in Issue 9, 2016.
Posted 12:31pm Sunday 1st May 2016 by Nita Sullivan.