July 21 2016
Colonel Katherine Powell is overseeing a mission to capture members of the notorious Al-Shabaab militant extremist group in their hideout in Nairobi, Kenya. Undercover field agent Jama Farah uses a short-range drones, one in the form of a bird and another in the form of a beetle, to get a closer look at the enemy. USAF pilot Steve Watts provides aerial surveillance via a Reaper drone he controls from Nevada.
When it was determined that these terrorists were about to launch another deadly attack at that moment, the mission was heightened to kill the perpetrators. Before the bomb is actually launched though, there had to be a series of diplomatic legal decisions through a complex chain of command, cognizant of the potential collateral damage to civilians around the immediate target premises.
Such is a short synopsis of this heart-gripping military thriller, "Eye in the Sky." Unlike other films of the same genre, this one highlighted the most current equipment of warfare. Of particular interest here are the long-range and short-range drones used not only to infiltrate but also destroy enemy targets. There was also advanced facial recognition technology in play here. These high-grade technological gadgets were amazing to behold in action.
It was also very interesting to see people (military and political) from all over the world decide on the actions to be taken in one specific mission via teleconferencing using images simultaneously provided to all concerned by these drones. How these international group of officials make major life and death decisions from conference rooms far removed from the actual place of operation is eye-opening.
Helen Mirren was tough as nails as the decisive team leader, Col. Powell, very convincing. The late Alan Rickman gave another memorable performance as Lt. Gen. Benson, who coordinated the London group. His delivery of his final line was perfection. Aaron Paul gives an emotional performance as the main drone pilot Watts. Barkhad Adbi, recent Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actor for his turn as a Somali pirate in "Captain Phillips," played the onsite Kenyan operative with grit.
The heart of the suspense and drama of this film is little Alia, a Kenyan girl selling bread at the wrong place and time. With her as focal point, South African director Gavin Hood creates an atmosphere of high-tension with his skillfully-timed editing of scenes. Distantly located officials arguing and quibbling via teleconference may sound dull on paper (not to mention that ugly local poster), but watching this riveting film definitely disproved that first impression. This film had action, adrenaline, and more importantly, heart. 8/10