Eye in the Sky is a terrific thriller about a secret military operation to take out three of the western world’s top terrorism suspects. The bad guys are laying low in Kenya, but only a few of the personnel trying to track them down are actually on the ground there – everyone else in this international effort is running the show from a distance, relying on virtual communications systems.
So we have a British Colonel (Helen Mirren) who is controlling the mission from a war room somewhere in the UK. She reports, with some impatience, to a General (Alan Rickman in his final role) who is in London with a handful of high level British diplomats and politicians. Meanwhile, the people who have their fingers on the trigger are a couple of young American soldiers (Aaron Paul and Phoebe Fox) sitting in a trailer in Nevada.
These far flung comrades watch the unfolding events through a video feed coming in from drones in Kenya. The drones are pretty cool – they’re disguised as bugs, and birds, and they sail around giving high definition visuals to decision makers who are thousands of miles away.
As the mission heats up, the two young soldiers in Nevada notice something moving within the potential missile blast range. A tap on the screen, and an inset close up – a sort of picture in picture – pops up and reveals a young girl innocently setting up to sell her mother’s fresh bread.
So, what do these high powered military commanders do now?
This is truly an edge of your seat kind of story – the players have to weigh the moral, political and tactical issues of the mission against the potential collateral damage, which is represented by this charming little girl.
War is hell, people.
The tension is regularly broken up by the sometimes absurd, and occasionally hilarious conversations had by the players trying to make these incredibly hard decisions under extreme time pressure. That includes the folks in Britain and Kenya and Nevada, as well as a few cameo convos with the British Foreign Secretary who is struggling with a bout of food poisoning in Singapore, and an incredulous American Secretary of State who is irritated at being pulled away from a ping pong game in China.
This movie lends itself well to discussions if your plan is to go out to dinner after the film. Or out for a drink. You might need a drink.
If you’ve seen the film, or want to, or if you have opinions on the legitimacy of drone warfare, let me know in the comments. (One last thing, Eye in the Sky movie starts with E, handy if you’re doing the A-Z Blogging Challenge.) Thanks for reading, folks!