Movie: Eye In The Sky
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: We all know about the War On Terrorism, but it is an undeclared war. We are not at war with a country, but on an ideology of terror, so nations fighting these terrorists must act under certain protocols. The military act under Rules Of Engagement (ROE), and can only resort to military action if certain legal parameters are met, and civilian authority approves the use of force. These restraints are necessary, but can lead to dicey situations where decision making is difficult at best.
Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) wakes up in Surrey, England one morning to be advised that British national Susan Danford (Lex King), a terrorist that has been hunted for six long years, has been spotted in Nairobi, Kenya. This information has been provided by Kenyan special forces coordinating with the British military, and facial recognition support provided by the U.S. Image Analysis Office at Pearl Harbor. There is masterful coordination of real time data among the three countries, with audio and visual signals whipping around the world via satellite imagery. And of course the “eye in the sky”, a high flying unmanned drone that is flying over Nairobi piloted by a U.S. Air Force officer at Creech AFB, Nevada by one Lt Steve Watts (Aaron Paul), who alone has the ability to release the devastating power of a Hellfire missile.
In addition to the British terrorist, there are several other high ranking terrorists all gathered in one location, clearing plotting to create mayhem in the city within a short time interval. Time is of the essence to stop them, but Col Powell must seek authority to take military action, and calls Lt Gen Benson (Alan Rickman) at Whitehall in London, who in turn must deal with an escalating array of civilian authorities in England as well as the United States, all concerned with the issue of collateral damage.
This is a fantastic movie, as timely as it is well done. This is not an action movie, but rather a story that could easily be true, and accurately shows all the moving parts of how difficult decisions have to play out when deploying force in a foreign land. The acting is brilliant, and the tension is slowly and continuously ratcheted up until the viewers are holding their breath for an outcome. Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman give bravura performances. A must see film.
Dialogue Nuggets: Col Powell – “This is an operation to capture, not kill. You’re to be our eye in the sky.”
Col Powell – “We need to put a Hellfire into that room right now!”
British Government Official – “Has there ever been a British led drone attack on British and American nationals in a friendly country?”
Lt Watts – “Is my government aware we are targeting a person with a U.S. passport?”
British Legal Officer to Col Powell – “The law is not here to get in your way. It is here to protect you.”
Lt Gen Benson – “Minister, do we have authority to prosecute the target?”
Lt Gen Benson to Civilian Minister – “I have attended the aftermath of five suicide bombings on the ground. Never tell a soldier he does not know the cost of war.”
Nitnoid Criticism: Helen Mirren was dynamic and perfect in the role of Colonel Powell, though realistically a bit old in real life at 70 to be in the military. Ditto for Aaron Paul, despite his boyish face, at 36 too old to be a second lieutenant.