Eye in the Sky

First Hit:  A complex film giving a really multifacited view of how fighting wars remotely, through cameras and armed drones, is changing the face and mental complexities of war.

Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is in charge of a mission to capture a British woman who is, with her Arabic husband, helping Islamic revolutionaries with suicide attacks. Powell has been tracking this person for 6 years from England through the use spies, informants and remote tracking devices.

At the time, her remote surveillance is provided for by the US using drone pilots located in a USAF unit stationed in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the first time she has a chance to capture this person in Nairobi, Kenya along with two other people who have become radicalized, one a US citizen and the other a British citizen.

Also working with her is the Kenyan army who are ready to apprehend this group when the opportunity arises. Watching her and the surveillance feeds remotely from another part of England is General Benson (Alan Rickman), who is with others from the British Government including the Attorney General.

This group is viewing the remote feeds to ensure the actions the Colonel takes are legal. However, the radicals move to an area where the government army cannot go, therefore the capture is off and now it is about finding a way to take out this group by using rockets from the drone.

There is a lot of discussion about doing this, including the amount of possible collateral damage. When they “Eye in the Sky” a drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) sees a 9-year-old girl named Alia (Aisha Takow) near the target area he asks for a re-assessment of the collateral damage area. While this is being assessed, Col. Powell is pressing for the attack, British Government sitting with the General are mixed in their assessment of weather to attack or not.

The US Government, which comes up in two different calls, states clearly they want the attack regardless of the collateral damage, and the Pilot and his co-pilot Carrie Gershon (Phoebe Fox) will do what they are ordered while showing the extreme signs of the stress and difficulty of the situation.

Mirren is really strong as the obsessed Colonel that will do almost anything to meet her objective. Rickman (in probably his final film) was really good using his typical droll and intelligent way of communicating. Paul was excellent as the drone pilot that was participating in his first use of deadly force. Takow was wonderful as the Kenyan girl causing all the questions. Fox was very good as the new inexperienced co-pilot. Barkhad Adbi was superb as the Kenyan undercover agent using miniature drone camera devices and finding ways to help minimize the collateral damage. Guy Hibbert wrote an exceptional screenplay. It was complex, filled with great dialogue and fully explored the dilemma afforded by fighting war with technology and remote abilities. Gavin Hood did an excellent job of creating the intimacy of each remote area and the wholeness of how remote wars are being fought.

Overall:  This film was excellent in so many ways and did a great job of bringing in both the political and military aspects of this type warfare to light.