Eye in the Sky

(2015)

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Title:
Eye in the Sky
Release Date:
11th September 2015
Runtime:
102 min
MPAA Rating:
R
Genres:
Directors:
Gavin Hood
Writers:
Guy Hibbert
Languages:
English
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

EYE IN THE SKY stars Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya. Through remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Powell discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from "capture" to "kill." But as American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute, reaching the highest levels of US and British government, over the moral, political, and personal implications of modern warfare.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 95%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 84%
IMDb Rating 7.4

Casts

Aisha Takow as Alia Mo'Allim
Armaan Haggio as Musa Mo'Allim
Bob Chappell as Simon Powell
Faisa Hassan as Fatima Mo'Allim
Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Agradeep Mandal 12th June, 2016

Good Movie

Unlike Good Kill, which is more focused on a drone pilot's life this movie is focused on a military joint operation between UK, US and Kenyan Forces against Al Shabab terrorists. This movie is about ethical conundrum of drone attacks and killing innocent people in the process. It's an intense film well acted and it really reflects how difficult it gets to give clearance for an attack when an innocent life gets in close proximity to a target. There is a conflict between human ethics and achieving military objective. Can 1 innocent life be sacrificed in order to save many? That's the question on which the whole movie revolves around.

Reviewed by amoore-4 9th May, 2016

Starts well, then lectures, then bores...

This film has talented star power and an interesting premise, albeit this type of film has already been done, but where it fails is the inaction by Aaron's character and his unwillingness to follow orders. His actions challenge a direct order, and in real life scenario under these circumstances this would not happen.. he would be removed. It becomes a moral lecture on when it's right to take a life. The movie could easily have been a one hour show but it spends too much time debating and discussing the 'hit', all because a little girl is in danger. I mean, gimme a break... there are seriously bad people conspiring in the building in question and can be taken out with a accurate strike from the drone. I'm not sure about others who saw this movie, but I was starting to squirm in my seat and mule out loud.. "just press the damn button"!! The movie fails not because it isn't well acted or the story has no potential. It fails because it is unrealistic. The trigger man would not see one girl as sufficient collateral damage when many high risk targets are at stake, targets that have not been in one place for years! If you like a movie that tries to show the sensitive and caring side of a young inexperienced man whose job it is to carry out orders from a group of senior experts who've dedicated their life to tracking these terrorists but is allowed to stall the decision at the risk of losing the shot by dithering over the possibility (they debate percentages of death ad nauseum) of a cute a little girl dying, then you'll like this movie. But I think most of us know the post 9/11 world we live in and how lucky the military would be to finally after years eliminate a number of known terrorists with one strike and not dedicate 45 minutes of a movie to hand-wringing and needless prevarication. It didn't make me yawn so much as make me angry... see it if you like, and tell me if you don't start pushing an imaginary button on your theater arm rest...

Reviewed by ctowyi 12th April, 2016

Unsettling heart-parked-in-your-mouth film

This is a white-knuckled heart-parked-in-your-mouth "tick tock" suspense thriller. Hardly an ounce of fats lined a lean and mean explosive storyline, and this one is going to hit the "career reset" button for Gavin Hood (even though his last effort Ender's Game is quite decent). Eye in the Sky towers above Good Kill (2015) on so many levels. They have the same story premise and both are spins on drone warfare, but their similarities end there. I really thought GK was a decent film albeit a tad too heavy on melodrama histrionics and it ultimately became top down heavy in its underlying message of modern warfare. EitS on the other hand is a complete marvel. It is exactly what GK isn't. It dares to ask probing ethical and moral questions but never cheapens the narrative by giving you broad-stroked answers; it will involve you totally and absolutely. We go through a minefield of moral conundrums and nobody will come out unscathed. The script is exceptionally probing and showcases all the legalistic, moralistic, ethical and political red-tape as parties, seated in situation rooms in different parts of the world (including a toilet), convened to decide whether a Hellfire missile should be launched. We see, almost in real time, the ramifications at every angle, from the innocent bystander, to the terrorists, to the people in suits and to the dude seated in a tiny room, his hands on the red trigger of a joystick. Innocence is indeed the first casualty of war. Another reason this film shines is its refusal to go down certain genre tropes. You won't see the guy, who had squeezed the trigger to rain down destruction on collateral innocents, drown in alcohol and sucking in a line of coke. You won't see a woman going home to hug her toddler to reassure herself that she did the right thing. You won't see commanders giving you three-point sermons of "it is a dirty job but somebody has to do it so that the world will be a better place". There is such a raw and unsettling freshness to it. It may be a full-on talkie but I was gripping my arm-rests tightly and my wifey had her palms parked at her mouth, almost literally from the get-go. The acting is all round immaculate. Helen Mirren shines as a hard-nosed military officer with a tiny soft spot for her underlings. Few actresses can elevate a film just with their presence; Mirren is one for the ages. This must be the best role I have seen Aaron Paul in since Breaking Bad. His role isn't easy, especially when he is stuck in a gamer's chair almost throughout the film. His face displays so much range that you would feel his internal turmoil as his omniscient eye calculates whether it will be a good kill. Barkhad Abdi, last seen as the baddie in Captain Phillips, has a superb turn as an operative on the ground, proving he is not a fluke. This is also Alan Rickman's final acting role and I literally count down the minutes that he will disappear from the big screen. The utterly memorable line he delivers with that quietly supercilious voice of his send chills down my spine. I am going to miss this fine actor. Eye in the Sky is superbly cerebral and morally thought-provoking; a suspense thriller for intelligent people. It is impossible to come out of this 102-minute film and not have your soul shattered in some way. This is one of those films you shouldn't watch alone because you would immediately want to discuss with someone which side of the fence you would sit on and count the dire consequences. Is there even a right side?

Reviewed by jlj9675-1 9th April, 2016

boring, whiny

After seeing the trailer I expected a highly-thrilling film. It was not. In fact, I was rather bored. I also like the work of Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman so was looking forward to this. I was sorely disappointed. About the only really interesting thing was realizing the scope of the intelligence personnel and equipment in place all around the world and how quickly they can all communicate verbally and visually. The premise was simplistic and I guess some writer's idea of reiterating the unfortunate consequences of conflicts between nations and unforeseen casualties, as if we don't already know that. I was not the least bit upset about the mission going forth and feel it should have been accomplished the first time. I was downright ashamed of our lieutenant and his unmanly attitude. I feel this was a whiny, liberal diatribe intended to make us all feel guilty but it surely did not work on me.

Reviewed by mamlukman 19th March, 2016

Unrealistic propaganda piece

I have no background in the military, but I would love to see a review of this by someone who does, preferably by someone with experience with drones. The message of the movie is that one certain loss of innocent life outweighs 80+ potential innocent lives lost. Nonsense. If you scan youtube videos about ISIS, terrorists, etc. you will see Muslims constantly attacking the US and UK for killing "hundreds of thousands" of people in Iraq and Afghanistan while defending the Taliban, ISIS, and terrorists for merely killing thousands--maybe tens of thousands tops. But of course that's not a valid argument to just cite numbers killed. The issue is intention: are the US and UK targeting--intentionally--innocent people? No. They are targeting military targets. Do innocent people get killed, either by mistake or by being too close to the bad guys? Absolutely. Is this a good thing? No. But the other side--Taliban, ISIS, terrorists--intentionally target innocent people. It's not a mistake, it's a strategy. And that is the moral difference. If you don't see that difference, this is the movie for you. I do know that the US military academies have courses in ethics. Why? Because they don't want their officers wondering about the ethics of following an order. "Do I pull the trigger?" the drone operator wonders… I think in real life he (and she, his partner) would have been either court martialed or relieved of duty and sent to Nome Alaska to count seals for a few years. The time to debate right and wrong is not when you're about to pull the trigger, it's before you decide to join up and take an oath of allegiance and obedience. Helen Mirren is a great actress. But she is in her late 60s. I think you would be hard pressed to find ANYONE in their late 60s in any armed forces in the US or UK. The character she played would probably be in their 40s, if not younger. Same with Rickman's character--he should have been maybe in his 50s. So that part is simply unrealistic. And of course that takes away from whatever realism the movie tries to achieve. Let's go back to WW II. Does anyone in their right mind think that there was 1% of the hand- wringing you see in this movie about decisions to bomb Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, or Nagasaki? It's unthinkable. Does anyone know of any bomber pilot who thought to himself when he was over the target "Oh, one of my bombs might inadvertently kill an innocent person"? That's just silly. And the British as the big ditherers? Really? Let's run some history back: the Luftwaffe is on a raid against RAF bases. One of its bombers didn't drop its bombs on the intended target. So they dropped them on a suburb of London, not to bomb London per se, but just to lighten their payload so they could return to base. The British response? The entire Bomber Command set out the next night to bomb Berlin. That annoyed Hitler just a little bit, and thus we have the birth of the London Blitz. Another gratuitous feature of the movie is showing females as sentimental softies. The female minister in Whitehall doesn't want to kill an innocent person under any circumstances. The drone operator in Nevada cries when the little girl is killed. I'm not sure if the director wanted this message to come across: "You can't count on women when it counts." But that's the message. I'm not sure if this is true, but I do know that if I were depending on the female soldier next to me to pull the trigger to save my life, I wouldn't want her to get all teary and weepy because she was thinking about the family of the guy in her sights. I'd want her to pull the trigger as quickly as she could. So basically this is an unrealistic anti-war propaganda piece. Well done, yes. But it presents a false dichotomy and is unrealistic on several levels. And of course we don't see the "enemy" debating any of these issues at all. Maybe that's the movie that should be made--the hours of debate and hand-wringing that went on in extremist HQ before the November Paris massacre. I'm sure they were all heart-broken that they had to kill 130 innocent people to achieve their military goal of…what? Killing innocent people? Please.