In Eye in the Sky, director Gavin Hood takes us behind the scenes of what really goes on in a war zone.
Based on a screenplay by Guy Hibbert, Helen Mirren leads a cast that includes Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam, Iain Glen and Phoebe Fox. It’s one of the final on-screen performances from the late Rickman and the film was appropriately dedicated to his memory.
Mirren stars as Colonel Katherine Powell. Mirren brings qualities to Powell that she has taken away from being on numerous film sets over the years. She’s a British military officer and overseeing an secretive operation to capture British citizen-turned-terrorist in Kenya. Utilizing all kinds of surveillance and intelligence, Powell soon learns that the terrorists are planning some sort of suicide bombing. This soon takes her mission to the next level: kill the terrorists.
In Las Vegas, American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is in charge of drone operations. Just as the mission is about to be completed with the firing of a Hellfire missile directed towards the house, a Kenyan girl enters the kill zone to make some money selling bread. This soon causes all sorts of chaos as time is of the essence to prevent more people from being killed. Because the Americans are involved, the US government must be contacted as their is a debate over just what needs to be done from a political perspective with regards to war. Is the life of one girl worth the prevention of a countless hundreds of deaths? This is the question that British higher ups debate to themselves before seeking out the advice of their superiors.
Spanning four continents, Eye in the Sky examines the political, moral, and legal questions that come with every decision made in modern warfare. The legal rules of engagement, if you will. None of the people involved wanted to make the wrong decision and end up being charged with war crimes.
The film is pretty much a ticking clock as they work their way to make a decision.
Hibbert started working on his screenplay back in 2008, long before the American military accidentally bombed an Afghan hospital. It wasn’t until President Barack Obama admitted in 2013 to the killing of innocent civilians in drone attacks in which the film was moved into production.
Hood responded to the script quite well, believing it could be “as an opportunity to explore how people located around the globe respond to a terrorist threat on the ground.”
Eye in the Sky was released by Bleecker Street on April 1, 2016. It will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on June 28, 2016.