Eye in the Sky (2016)

A thrilling and compelling drama around the notions behind modern warfare – ‘Eye in the Sky’

Film Review

Colonel Katherine Powell has been perilously tracking the movements of a number of al-Shabaab terrorists for several years. When new information on the whereabouts of these high-priority individuals comes to her attention, a team gathers to achieve a final resolution to capture the targets. Situated in Nairobi, Kenya, a young girl harmlessly goes about her daily routine, selling bread for her mother. Her life is put on the line when Powell regrettably decides to modify her mission from “capture” to “kill”, after threats of suicide bombers are uncovered. Further complications arise as imminent deaths are calculated and the whole team must make some difficult decisions in order to minimalize causalities and destruction.

Personally, there can be times when war driven features don’t manage to capture my attention at all. As a general trend, political and military aspects don’t typically appeal. But when Eye in the Sky was viewed for the first time, my reaction was fairly unanticipated. At first glance, the cast is splendid, with stars such as Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul and of course the wonderful, late Alan Rickman grace the screen in alliance against the terrorist threat. They each provide believable and compelling performances, just one of the main reasons why the feature overall was a piece of captivating splendour.

We accompany the wildly scattered team as each element of the task is painstakingly evaluated, each individual with a different opinion on how the business should be dealt with. The matter at hand is evidently not one to be taken lightly, and such circumstances drive emotional impact on verdicts, which come across on screen flawlessly. Despite the real-time outlook on the operation, there wasn’t a moment of boredom or lack of interest in the plot developments in my eyes. The contortion of plans and occurrence of twists in the narrative enabled a constant thrill that left viewers on the edge of their seats. Predominantly, this displays a drawn-out discussion of warfare, which, when called upon in that way, doesn’t seem appropriate for feature length viewing. Yet, through the usage of many wonderfully portrayed aspects, Director Gavin Hood pulls it off in a captivating and absorbing demonstration.

The Real Deal

In terms of the emotional forces that are imposed towards the audience, the way the narrative was constructed enabled this to be an effective and dominant force that impacts on the viewer. This was done skilfully through the introduction of characters, particularly Alia, who is first seen innocently playing in the confinements of her yard. Firstly, we are unaware of how she connects to the plot, yet this leisurely monitored display of her going about her daily life brings forth an attachment to the endearing child that seems inescapable. Brilliantly directed and manufactured, this cinematic approach is what helps drive powerful reactions.

Eye in the Sky (2016) – source: Entertainment One

Political responses as well as moral obligations are themes that predominantly feature, creating a stand-still of solution on multiple occasions. With the capability to grip you into the situation and draw upon multiple sides of the argument to reinforce this. We witness the determined Colonel (Mirren), who aims to do everything in her power to do what is deemed right for the masses, Lt General Benson (Rickman) tolerates the differing judgments of Britian’s governments and pilot Watts (Paul) faces his most unpleasant situation to date. Each with differing positions, providing compelling and well structured arguments of speech.

When deliberating upon the realistic aspects that are evident in this feature, its difficult to escape the actuality that this is happening around us all the time. Countries unite in tracking and potentially eradicating threats to societies, even away from the public eye. The thrill and drama highlights the logistics and inhumanity bearings that accompany such formidable and arduous career paths. It brings enquiries into warfare of today and the effects of drone strikes on political standings as well as moral boundaries.

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