Friday, November 11, 2016

Film Review: Eye in the Sky (2015)

Eye in the Sky (Review)
United Kingdom/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...it is gut-wrenchingly tense and unnerving."

Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren), who is in charge of capturing Al-Shabaab militants in Nairobi, Kenya, finds her mission escalating out of control when a child enters the kill zone...

Eye in the Sky is a compelling war drama. The film follows several parties involved in a single operation. Colonel Katherine Powell is overseeing an operation to capture two British terrorists and one U.S. terrorists, all who happen to be on the most wanted list – and in the same house in Nairobi. These terrorists are, of course, planning a suicide bombing. She wants to kill the terrorists with a drone strike, but the collateral damage may be too much for their rules of engagement. So, Powell seeks approval from her higher-ups, which causes a game of hot potato amongst politicians and lawyers – no one wants to take responsibility. Meanwhile, a USAF drone pilot, Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) and his partner find themselves with their own moral dilemma when they spot a child in the kill zone. It's engaging, suspenseful, and compelling up to its strong climax and ending.

Eye in the Sky is a fantastic film. It's one of those films that's suspenseful from beginning to end. And, when I say it is suspenseful, I mean: it is gut-wrenchingly tense and unnerving. It kept me on the edge throughout most of its runtime. On top of that, it is a very compelling war drama about modern warfare. Particularly, Eye in the Sky discusses the issues with drone strikes. Using several perspectives, it takes us through the several phases of an operation like this while tackling the political, legal, and ethical issues also revolving around said operation. For the most part, I thought it was fairly even-handed and unbiased. There are some issues here and there, but it generally gets you thinking – at least, it got me to think about the problem.

The acting was also strong from the entire cast. Helen Mirren is great as the leading lady and Aaron Paul shows some surprising depths in his performance. The supporting cast is also great. The film was shot beautifully, making-do with what the filmmakers had to work with. I'm sure some people will be angry about the location, but it didn't bother me – it's a movie, after all. The music was fantastic – I'm listening to the soundtrack while writing this review. The film was written by Guy Hibbert and directed by Gavin Hood. The pair work wonderfully together. Hibbert crafts a powerful drama about the complexities of war – human, legal, and political. Hood crafts a suspenseful war drama while keeping a steady hand.

Overall, Eye in the Sky is a fantastic movie. If you're watching it for its political and ethical themes, you'll find yourself with a compelling drama. If you're simply looking for something suspenseful, you'll find yourself with an exciting thriller. On the technical side, the film is nearly perfect, too. It's one of my favorite films of 2015 and a must-watch.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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