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Hello and welcome to the movie blog of author John DeFrank - FilmZ and Guy Sobriquet Malone - Researcher

Eye in the Sky


The effectiveness of Eye in the Sky as a political thriller goes beyond simple suspense; it makes the viewer think and feel.  Deeply.  That the feeling part comes as the result of some emotional manipulation can be forgiven because it forces us to personalize, to really empathize, with those most affected by war.

Helen Mirren (in a role originally written for a man) is Col. Katherine Powell, a British officer in London has been trying to capture radicalized UK citizen Susan Danford for six years.  From Hawaii, an American image analyst confirms that Danford and two other "most wanted" terrorists are holed up in Nairobi, along with two recruits.  As she organizes her operation, Col. Powell is in contact with drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) at his base in Nevada to watch from high above and Jamah Farah (Barkhad Abdi) on the ground in Nairobi with remote-control cameras ingeniously planted in robotic birds and beetles.  Meanwhile, in Whitehall, Lieut. Gen. Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) monitors the operation with members of the Prime Minister's administration.

Events become complicated when Danford and her associates relocate to a terrorist stronghold too hot for commandos to raid.  Farah bravely follows from the ground as Watts continues to monitor from the sky. With the new location, Col. Powell explores lethal military options as her superior, Gen. Benson, works through the political and bureaucratic quagmire involved with staging a drone attack in a country with whom neither Britain not the US is at war.

Soon, surveillance reveals two discoveries: one that makes a drone attack imperative, and another that makes it inconceivable.  At this point in this most immersive film, we, the audience, vicariously face a military, ethical, and philosophical Hobson's choice.  We examine our own humanity, an analysis summarized best in a line uttered by the incomparable Alan Rickman in what is, sadly, his last film.  Eye in the Sky, though manipulative at times, haunted me for days until I realized that there is no level of humanity in war.


8.5 out of 10

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