A known terrorist group has turned what was supposed to be an arrest into a possible battle. The British military, using American drones, now has to choose whether or not they should just destroy the building, killing all the terrorists but also nearby civilians.
Col. Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) and Lt. Gen. Frank Benson (Alan Rickman in his last role) walk a moral tightrope addressing the issues of modern warfare in Eye in the Sky.
We say, “It’s probably the best movie about drone warfare, so far.”
TAYLOR: Drones and their usage is everywhere in cinema and television. We have already reviewed another movie that asks the same questions as Eye in the Sky. It was called Good Kill, but Eye in the Sky is a much more entertaining movie, which probably has something to do with better quality actors.
Not to take anything away from Ethan Hawke, but he played a drunk who couldn’t deal with the consequences of his actions, whereas with Mirren and Rickman, we are treated to a more cynical, hardened, aged warrior. It’s just more fun to watch.
HOWE: You hit the nail on the head. It is down to the actors. Mirren is fantastic in everything that she does. This is no different, and what is there to say about Rickman? The first time I saw him was in Prince of Thieves and I fell in love with his acting and the way he delivers his lines. They roll off his tongue like butter off a hot knife. He could even read this review and make it sound exciting.
TAYLOR: This film has been compared, quite agreeably, I think, to Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick. The humour is in the absurdity. Except that when bureaucracy fails funnily in Eye in the Sky, the sending and receiving of the joke is earnest. We are not viewing a satire, we are understanding the joke is on us. Modernity ignores the future. War can be played like a video game. Anyone can pass the buck. In reality, we combine these concepts at our peril. In the cinema, it’s entertaining.
HOWE: I really enjoyed Eye in the Sky. The story is taut and strong, dotted throughout with subtle humour. Like I said earlier, the acting is strong, but it is not only from its two main stars. The whole cast does a marvellous job and that is something to pull off, seeing that the movie is really only shot in three locations: two box rooms and one exterior location.
TAYLOR: It had more gadgets than a James Bond film! Made me wonder about what kinds of things are currently possible. I may not see a bug fly by the same way again.
HOWE: I agree. It’s a scary thought in what they are able to do, or should that be see and hear?
– Taylor gives Eye in the Sky 4 buckets of water out of 5.
– Howe gives it 4 loaves of bread out of 5.
Reel Reviews with Brian Taylor and Peter Howe appear in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.