Film Review by Andy Box
EYE IN THE SKY stars Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya. Through remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Powell discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from "capture" to "kill." But as American pilot Steve Watts (Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute, reaching the highest levels of US and British government, over the moral, political, and personal implications of modern warfare.
This is a slick, well-paced thriller that will tickle your ethical standing throughout. The audience is taken on a journey through a myriad of political and military turns that all go into deciding if a British drone strike on enemy soil takes place. The delicate situation is cleverly portrayed from multiple viewpoints and the emotions of all the players are examined in stunning clarity.
Gavin Hood (Enders Game) has crafted an entertaining movie in which you are asked to make the call. Helen Mirren (The Queen) is excellent as the dedicated Colonel Powell and the casting of a female lead in the role of a battle hardened company man adds extra layers to the plot and ensuing sub plots. This is not the first time that Mirren has brought to life the writing of Guy Hibbert (Prime Suspect).
She is well supported by the dry and witty Rickman (Love Actually) and the underrated Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) who is superb as the American Drone Pilot who has yet to fire his weapon. I really enjoyed the contrast between Rickman’s personal life and his military role and there are some classy comic moments from him.
As war films go this is a little unconventional as it is not so much about the action but the dialogue and the fallout that so often accompanies modern warfare. Having said that the action scenes are strong and do help build tension.
Big Brother is watching you and and you probably do not even know it. Go and see how he does it. It really is quite fascinating!
Releases: 14th April 2016
Duration: 102 minutes
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Starring: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman
Director: Gavin Hood (Ender’s Game, X-Men Origin Wolverine)
Final live-action film role of Alan Rickman.
Oliver Hirschbiegel and Tarsem Singh were previously attached to direct.
When asked at a screening of Eye in the Sky about working with Alan Rickman in the actor's final film role, Hood revealed that Rickman stayed on set for three or four days after shooting wrapped to attend the wrap party and individually thank the film crew for its dedication.
Due to budgetary restrictions during the six-week shoot, actors often worked individually. For example, when Helen Mirren is in the decision room, she was actually speaking in real time to the film's director, Gavin Hood, and facing a green screen with a red 'X' designating her line of focus.
According to director Gavin Hood, 30% of U.S. military drone operators are treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Helen Mirren's role was originally written for a male actor