Eye In The Sky

Sigh, my first review of an Alan Rickman film since his passing.

Unlike other stars, Rickman only had two films in post production at the time of his death. This film, Eye in the Sky, and Alice Through the Looking Glass, which he is just the voice of the caterpillar.

That makes Eye in the Sky his last live action role, so arguably his last film ever. Such a shame, because these films tend to be a bit stinky, and not knowing anything about the plot, I doubt it will have a good send off for his character like they had for Robin Williams in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Heck, or even anything like Paul Walker in Furious 7.

No, this will probably just be a normal role, nothing fancy, but hopefully not forgettable. Because screw the Alice movie.

Rest in peace you beautiful bastard.

Drone warfare. A lot of problems with it, morally, ethically, and so on. It basically can turn war into a video game, where we have no one on the other side getting hurt, and we can hurt them without impunity. Terrorist in a house? Bomb the house! If the house had civilians in it, then whoops! And then we move on.

Eye in the Sky is about one fictional attack.

Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is a British agent who has been leading a task force looking for Ayesha AL-Hady (Lex King) and a few other people on their East African most wanted list. Ayesha is actually a British citizen who has gone against her country to become a terrorist in Nigeria. They hear about a meeting between her, her husband (also in the top 5 wanted list), and a few others taking place. So they get the local Nigerian police force to help them set up a sting, with their “eyes in the sky” coming from an American drone, piloted by Steve Watts (Aaron Paul).

But things don’t go as they have planned. A few of them get in a car and change meeting location to a heavily militarized neighborhood, so the Nigerians cannot enter without starting a huge battle with many casualties. This was supposed to be a capture mission for these people to stand trial. A local Jama Farah (Barkhad Abdi) has to go undercover with a tiny bug drone to see inside the new house, where they find the members of their list, and material for suicide bomb vests. Shit. This changes everything. If they are setting up to go blow up a shopping center, maybe hundreds of lives are at stake. And since they cannot get a force in their easily, they might just have to bomb the building.

Can they do that? Can they go from a capture to a kill mission? Do they have clearance? Does the fact that American and British citizens in the house change things? Or, how bout the presence of a little neighborhood girl, selling bread right outside of the house? Well, jeez. I wouldn’t want to have to make these decisions, and apparently most other people in this film agree.

A lot of people are in this. On the British soldier/bureaucrat side we have: Iain Glen, Babou Ceesay, Alan Rickman, Monica Dolan, Jeremy Northam, and Richard McCabe. Some of our Americans are played by Phoebe Fox and Gavin Hood (the director)! And our locals on the ground crew and its citizens are: Ebby Weyime, Armaan Haggio, Aisha Takow, Faisa Hassan, and Vusi Kunene.

His gamer tag has to be “CaptainNow,” just look at him!

Yes, this really is a film just about a single fictional drone strike, and a whole lot of people talking about it. In terms of action scenes, there is really only one actual scene. It had running and guns firing and lasted mere minutes. The rest of the film was talking, and people waiting to talk.

And it was somehow the most intense feeling ever. I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout the film, only leaning back when I had to laugh nervously or get a small “whew’ in before something else went wrong. A rollercoaster of words.

You will get mad at characters, cheer certain ones on, and then quickly change your mind five minutes later. They really examine this whole situation, and every time a wrench is throne, it is unbelievable.

But the best part of Eye in the Sky, is that it never really says that one way is right and the other is wrong. Yes, a decision is made, and the decision affects dozens of people, not including those who are actually in Nigeria. It gave a lot of respect to both arguments for drone strikes, way more than say, London Has Fallen, who just hamfisted its opinion into us with a scream of “FREEDOM!”

Good news Alan Rickman. Your last live action film didn’t suck. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go marathon Harry Potter and cry everytime.

3 out of 4.

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