Film Review: Eye in the Sky

Here is a review of the new film Eye in the Sky submitted by a local resident. To read more of our reviews by local people click here.

 EYE  IN  THE  SKY reviewed at Wester Hailes Odeon.

Eye in the Sky 2015 film poster.jpg

I did not know much about this movie just that it was about ‘Drone’ surveillance and starring Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman (who died recently).   I expected an above average thriller however it turns out to be  a serious and thought – provoking  drama about the moral dilemma of inflicting ‘Collateral Damage’ – (a clinical term for civilian casualties caused by action on an enemy military target).

The story is that a gang of terrorists including a female British convert are holed up in a large house in a town in Somalia. Helen Mirren somewhat reprises her role as Detective Inspector Tennison, as a Military Intelligence Colonel who plans to kidnap the British convert  and extradite her  to the U.K.  The house is under surveillance
( I kinda like this word)  from a pilotless Drone hundreds of feet above and invisible to all below, also a small team of undercover soldiers from the Kenya military are lurking around nearby,  ready to snatch the woman when given the order.

The film actually starts by showing a  domestic scene in a poor home nearby, a young girl helps her mother to bake tasty –looking flatbreads which she is going to sell by the roadside from a small trestle – unfortunately  right  in front of the hideout ‘s wall.  The girl lugs a bag of loaves to her usual spot and this is seen by the Drone operators, who are not too worried because at this stage there are no plans to zap the target.  These personnel are thousands of miles away – in the U.S.A. at a base which controls ’Drones‘ in the Middle East.  We see two low-ranking specialists (who will ultimately have to pull the trigger). They themselves seem rootless, a young man and woman, both from different faraway States, marooned in the middle of the Arizona desert.  Ultimately the pair will be distressed and traumatised by the outcome.

The woman terrorist never emerges from the house so may not even be there.  Mirren asks Kenya to tell their hit team to send in a miniature Drone which is disguised as a small bird!  It can fly up to the windows and peek inside, operated from nearby by the hit team.  But it cannot see through the lace curtains!   What to do?  They send in an even smaller CCTV  drone disguised as a big flying beetle which sneaks in through an open window and lands on a roof beam just above the Terrorist gang who are busy assembling suicide vests (as they do).   The British woman is also present  but Helen Mirren is horrified to see what they are up to.  Like an ice-cool Tigress in her smart ironed combat uniform she starts the complex legal process of getting permission to destroy the target with a missile from the large drone.  The dilemma is that the girl selling loaves  will be ‘Collateral Damage’.  The Kenyan hit man uses his initiative and rushes round to buy all the girl’s flatbreads so that she will leave the scene  – but 10 minutes later she re-appears with another consignment of loaves! What follows is a desperate race against time to prevent the  carnage from the suicide bombers  which is imminent. Alan Rickman, in his final sceen  performance,  plays Mirren’ s boss  who has to speak to politicians and legal advisers.

EYE IN THE SKY is an exciting thriller which tells you a lot about the shadowy  world of remote aerial surveillance and  missile attack.  All the characters try to prevent the inevitable fate of the innocent bystander,  however Helen Mirren’s character is cold, ruthless and enigmatic I felt .

Submitted by G.H./May 2016.

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