‘Eye in the Sky’ Review

Directed by Gavin Hood

Written by Guy Hibbert

Starring: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam, and Iain Glen

★★★★☆

“Eye in the Sky” is a war drama that is different from many war dramas because there is no war in the movie per se. The movie takes place during a combat operation, but there is no combat. What “Eye in the Sky” is, is a study of the complex morality and politics of modern warfare. It was a fascinating study of this complexity.

In contemporary warfare, there has been a growing movement to implement devices like drones and other unmanned technology you would think that the human element was removed from the conflict, but “Eye in the Sky” proves that this rational is not true. The most powerful moments in the movie focus on the pilot of the drone and how he deals with the decision-making process, and the outcome of it, despite being located several thousand miles away and has little direct involvement with the conflict. “Eye in the Sky” shows that despite the advancements in technology the human element can never fully be removed from combat because ultimately a human still needs to make the decision and a human is the one that “pulls the trigger.”

Aside from the question of the human element, “Eye in the Sky” also poses the interesting question of immediate collateral damage vs. future collateral damage. “Eye in the Sky” takes place during the current Global War on Terror, and the prevention of future terror attacks is the primary objective of these kinds of operations. It was a fascinating look behind the scenes at the planning and legal and political red tape that these kinds of operations have to go through to get done, and how they can be altered by the slightest change of variable. How they have to change the whole operation because of one new prospect of collateral damage, but ultimately, to quote Spock “The good of the many outweighs the needs of the few or the one.”

“Eye in the Sky” features a stellar cast, including the always fantastic Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, and the late great Alan Rickman – in an Oscar-caliber supporting turn. Maybe the posthumous thing will give Rickman more visibility in an Oscar campaign, considering that the movie was released well outside of the “traditional” Oscar season. And as a side note Gavin Hood, best known for “X – Men Origins: Wolverine,” provides great direction. Given that “Origins: Wolverine” was far from a good movie, I was a little surprised to see Hood’s name on the credits, especially given that this movie is fantastic.

“Eye in the Sky” is a taut and timely thriller about contemporary issues on the modern battlefield. The movie is worth seeing, worth thinking about, and worth discussing.

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