Given the recent phenomenal obsession with drones and their growing popularity worldwide, Eye in the Sky will appeal to that audience. It highlights drones incredible capability to retrieve information from a safe distance and also while in the hands of the experts, it accentuates their capacity as an instant killing weapon. 'A future of stand-off, plugged-in warfare' serviced by high tech surveillance drones with missiles. This very sobering and thought-provoking piece of cinematography deserves a lengthy run.
The best laid plans of mice and men comes to mind when Eye in the Sky begins to unfold. A target, a mission, a plan of action and then suddenly, a child upsets the equation. Director Gavin Hood, whose previous film, Ender's Game, also delved into modern warfare and virtual technology, creates a striking film that could easily translate into a one act stage play.
Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman, the two key military officials, are strictly bound by protocol and rules of engagement. Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, has the unenviable task to oversee an international strike in a friendly area and not in a time of war. Where all the moves are directed by phone and screen, the anxiety and stress levels are palpable. Another Powell, an American four-star general in the US Army for 35 years and the US Secretary of State during G. W. Bush's administration may have been inspiration for Mirren's character. This was the late Alan Rickman's last live-action film and as Lt. General Frank Benson, his delivery in the final moments of the movie will live on: 'Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war'. Morality and the value of every life are this movie's central theme.
Since the 1990s we have been watching airstrikes courtesy of drone media coverage streaming live into our homes. In this film, you are made aware that even the most sophisticated technology, including two miniature drone creatures used for spying and intelligence gathering, are only as good as their battery life and a clear view. Gone are the spies in hidden Kevlar jackets watching at outdoor cafes or taking photos from long lens cameras.
The premise for this movie could be captured just by watching a YouTube clip or TV news so why spend time at the movies watching it? For the very reason that people are still drawn to Phoenix Picturehouse. The widescreen experience and the opportunity to immerse yourself in films like this one. I found myself becoming emotionally involved as the story unfolded, willing and hoping for a positive outcome.