Eye in the Sky needs no preamble. It is simply brilliant.
Guy Hibbert’s tense screenplay is played out with enough tension and unexpected bouts of humour that it’s an exhausting 100 minutes.
Exploring the ramifications of modern warfare, much of director Gavin Hood’s footage is shot from a drone as an international collective, lead by Col. Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) prepare to strike against wanted terrorists in Kenya. When a nine year old girl enters the kill zone to sell homemade bread to passing villagers, the drone pilot (Aaron Paul) refuses to strike without higher authority.
So begins the race against time to remove the child and strike before the terrorists leave the meeting house. When it’s discovered that the terrorists are planning a massive suicide bombing, the imperative to stop them increases but the refusal of politicians to take responsibility for an order to knowingly kill a child means that time is fast running out. It’s a moral and political dilemma with the media breathing down their neck – do they kill a few innocent people to save a larger number who will die in the impending terrorist attack, or are numbers less important that the equality of every life?
The outstanding cast complement Hood’s edgy action and Hibbert’s ingenious script. Mirren is joined by Alan Rickman as Lieutenant General Frank Benson and Barkhad Abdi as the man on the ground. The performances are all strong while the pace leaves barely time to breath. Even the slower moments are gripping enough to make you hold your breath.
Eye in the Sky is a smart, welcome entry into the static terrorism genre of recent film making. It’s a fresh story told in a unique style and everything about it works. It’s not to be missed.
Extra features on the home release include featurettes on “Morals” and “Perspectives”, an image gallery, and interviews with cast and crew. The film is rated M in Australia.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 10
Eye in the Sky will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on 20 July 2016.