Eye in the Sky follows Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) as she commands a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya.
Powell knows that two terrorists who are on Britain’s top five most wanted list are due to meet in an urban house. After years of tracking this dangerous couple, Powell is determined they will be captured and brought to justice.
When the targets reach the house, Powell uses remote surveillance and on-the-ground intelligence to observe their movements. Watched by various members of the British government, international armed services and international intelligence via video link, this long awaited mission appears straight forward.
However, when it’s discovered that the group inside the house have bombs which they clearly plan to use for an imminent suicide mission, the initiative soon escalates. Powell is committed to destroying the bombs and the future bombers by blowing up the house. But not everyone is as convinced.
The various politicians and army officials battle with the legal and moral concerns and implications about changing this mission from a “capture” to “kill” scenario. But as American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute, reaching the highest levels of the US and British government, over the moral, political, and personal implications of modern warfare and terrorism.
Eye in the Sky was a tremendous film, which despite its confinement of time and space, had a sustainable level of tension and drama. The treatment of the themes and story with the use of purposeful but cleverly defined camera angles, editing, diegetics and colouring set an engaging tone.
The cast which included: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi, Phoebe Fox, Iain Glen, Jeremy Northam, Monica Dolan, John Heffeman, Richard McCabe and Gavin Hood were all on point. They filled their roles wonderfully and Mirren was believable as a dominating and determined Colonel. Also, it was very sad but also meaningful to see Alan Rickman in his last on role screen and lovely to see the film had a special dedication to a highly talented British actor who will be greatly missed.
Overall, it was possibly two of the most intense cinematic hours of my life. I had nothing to lose and I knew it was fiction, but somehow I still felt overwhelmed. The looming danger and the sense of responsibility felt so imminent through: the planning, direction and performances in this film, that I took its content personally. And perhaps more importantly, it was an interesting insight into the very real but obscure world of military missions and what they do in the name of defence, and the legacy of guilt they carry.
by Caroline Malcolm
Featured image source: Screenshot from Eye in the Sky Official Trailer | Rotten Tomatoes Trailer | Youtube