Written by Nelson Cumming
Eye in the Sky does what great films do. They get a concept that gets you thinking while turning the idea on its head. More specifically, Eye in the Sky is centered on war ethics. Movies that focus on terrorism normally internalize the fear and build suspense on the threat (like The Hurt Locker). Other movies focus on the hunt for terrorists themselves. Eye in the Sky looks at a situation from multiple perspectives that helps answer the question “Do I pull the trigger”.
Helen Mirren is an army official who is overseeing a terrorist operation with intent to capture terrorists in a house. She later learns that the terrorists in the house intend to record a suicide bombing that aims to kill many people.
After learning this, she believes a missile strike should be appropriate but she is not in the position to make the decision. She gets Alan Rickman to represent the army and tries to encourage the prime minister for an approval but with intense political opposition makes the strike all the more difficult to execute.
Not only that but it becomes even more difficult when a young girl sells bread right beside the bomb radius. It does because the milirary was stuck between several rocks and a hard places. The question I was asking myself constantly throughout was “does the army win or do the terrorists win”
The ethical dilemmas and the scriptwriting
This is a great premise that deals with war ethics, human ethics, legalities, public perception and political prowess. Those themes dominate this film in such an easy digestible way. It’s rare that I have ever heard 30 minutes of legalities of such a unique situation be so interesting. This comes from great written dialogue from the script.
It is undeniable in my opinion that Eye in the Sky is a great film. You start to think how much a life is worth as the main characters do. Many of the characters have different political agendas but it’s never confusing as you watch it. You have people who want the strike, others that don’t, people that do, but they don’t want to be the person who pulls the trigger etc. You get caught in the cobwebs as much as the characters. It’s how they made Eye in the Sky immersive
All the actors play their roles really well. I hope there is a nomination for this movie for the best cast. Alan Rickman in his final role in a live action film is terrific as the military man in the board room. Aaron Paul won’t get enough credit but I thought he was very important in establishing a humanity in the film. Paul’s character is a soldier who has to decide to pull the trigger and it’s his first time doing it. You feel the moral struggle with his performance.
I think anyone who has an open mind will go into Eye of the Sky and leave discussing it with yourself or with someone. This is a movie that is unique, simple, moving and makes you question the decisions that are made by the characters in the story. This is a candidate for my top 10 list of the year ****3/4