Plot- Col. Katherine Powell, a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, sees her mission escalate when a girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare.
Review: Would you take an innocent life in order to potentially save 80, or would you spare that innocent life for definite and potentially condemn those 80 to death?
This is the question that hangs over Eye In The Sky and informs almost every single characters decision with the sole exception of the innocent, who’s sole aim is to sell enough bread to feed her family.
It’s a simple, tense set up as the various characters debating the moral, ethical, political and legal ramifications of pressing a button from the safety of their home base and unleashing death half a world away, and as the various one-note characters made their positions clear and the politicians try everything in their power to avoid having to make a decision.
And I do mean one-note the Americans are gung-ho, the politicians waver, Hellen Mirren and Alan Rickman (in his final live-action role) portray military commanders who just want to push the button and the actual drone pilot? He just wants to make sure that he’s legally in the clear after he pushes the button.
The film does have a surprising amount of black humor in it and more than a few chuckles could be heard during my screening- at least to begin with. Until the clock started ticking and it became clear that bureaucratic buck pushing could stop a decision being made at all.
Tick, tick tick…
Unfortunately, the film does let itself down in several key regards. It’s easily fifteen minutes too long and sometimes it does almost descend into farce, the low budget (13.3 million) shows in several keys scenes, a few of the gadgets are a little too James Bond for me. Also, how do I put this….
It’s way too liberal for it’s own good.
It makes its point about the legality, ethics and morality of Drone warfare with the subtlety of a sledgehammer and then keeps going, at times it felt like an episode of 24 being directed by The Guardian newspaper. A film like this, which is basically people staring at screens and yelling at each other, should be punchy- clocking in at roughly 90 minutes. Instead, this runs for almost two hours and it starts to lose some of it’s potency.
I did enjoy it and enjoyed listening to the debates that it spawned as I was leaving the auditorium, but feel that this had the potential to be much better than it was.
My Score- If Nothing Else