Sunday, April 24, 2016

Eye in the Sky

Was convinced to see a new movie, Eye in the Sky, about use of drones in third-world countries, featuring Helen Mirren as a British air force colonel hell-bent on taking out terrorists she's been tracking for several years. She runs into the need for clearance by higher-ups--civilians--both Americans and Brits, who are concerned to greater or lesser degrees about collateral killing of uninvolved civilians.

Performances are excellent--Alan Rickman's last playing the British general who has to meet with the Attorney General, the Foreign Ministry rep, and other high-level types, and Barkhad Abdi, who played the lead pirate in Captain Phillips, as an on-the-ground agent of the Brits. The scene in Somalia--where it was filmed--is classic third-world, with a sympathetic local's uninvolved presence near the house where the terrorists are meeting keeping everyone involved in deciding whether to order the drone strike on tenterhooks.

It is a thriller in that it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Rickman's voice is a treasure. Richard McCabe as the U.K. Attorney General seemed the perfect British bureaucrat. There also are good flash scenes with the British Foreign Secretary and U.S Secretary of State. 

The ethical issues are compelling as well. The participants mull how the likely death of a sympathetic local character matches up with the far greater number who would perish if the two suicide bombers at the meeting in Somalia escape the drone strike to commit their acts of terror in shopping malls. 

The whole experience makes you realize if you didn't already how you can be tracked so easily and so effectively. So all in all, this was both an entertaining and sobering film to see.

1 comment:

  1. As a great fan of Rickman and Mirren, and as one interested in the subject, I'll have to see this.

    Last night I saw A Little Chaos, with Rickman as Louis XIV and Kate Winslet as the woman hired to design his gardens at Versailles. Highly recommended.