Posted Apr 19 2016

Eye In The Sky - This Movie Drone Rocks

Dir: Gavid Hood

Starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam, Iain Glen, Richard McCabe

This tale of drone warfare is a taut, smart - occasionally even funny – contemporary war film. But more than anything, it is as ruthlessly efficient as the technology it depicts. Set between a number of rooms worldwide in which these decisions are taken – and the “real” world, in this case Nairobi – where the impact of such decisions are truly felt, Hood here creates a more-or-less real-time unfolding event story, that manages to both debate the humanity of the actions involved at the same time as ensuring the action on display is deeply engrossing and profoundly nail-biting. No mean trick from the man who screwed the pooch with X Men Origins: Wolverine.

Thus we have Mirren’s career Colonel in a bunker on the outskirts of London, conversing with Rickman’s high ranker juggling the politicos that be in the guarded rooms of Whitehall, seeking to control the pilot grunts of Aaron Paul and the like, bunkered down in the desert homed crates of the Las Vegas desert. He has his finger on the trigger – but have no doubt, all of the above are culpable in the pulling of it. Enter into this a little local girl selling bread on what is about to become a major target. She’s dressed, to all intents and purposes, as Little Red Riding Hood. And in this case the wolf is flying high above her and armed to its very big teeth.

Hood’s smart, accomplished film is a very fine thing indeed, armed with note-perfect performances – no one outstanding, everyone part of an underplayed ensemble, that raises difficult questions and is content to leave you with unsatisfying, complicated answers. Or you may well think – no answers at all.

Go in knowing little and you will find yourself pulled in more than one direction, even laughing when you don’t expect to at the sheer ridiculousness of the – largely British – political process that sees everyone “refer up” to blackly comic, almost Strangelove-effect (Northam and Glenn, both standouts in this respect.)

Indeed, Strangelove and Fail Safe both echo here at times in the inevitable nature of events. But this is darker, more up to the minute stuff. This is a snapshot of the world as we live now. And for all its genre conventions and effectiveness as an edge of the seat thriller, it’s also – suitably – quite a realistically frightening film.

And given this is Alan Rickman’s final screen appearance – the man goes out on a beautiful moment.


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