Film review: Eye in the Sky (4 out of 5)

We've all seen footage on TV of rockets fired from drones blowing up buildings and military vehicles.

Alan Rickman in his final on-screen role SUS-160423-091449001
Alan Rickman in his final on-screen role SUS-160423-091449001

In fact it’s an all too familiar part of the news these days.

However, this fascinating film takes us on a single military mission from start to finish in real-time to show just how agonising the decision to fire that rocket can be.

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And it gives the audience chance to make up their own mind as the moral dilemma is laid out.

Helen Mirren plays Col Katherine Powell, in charge of a joint UK/US operation to capture terrorists in Kenya with the help of surveillance by a drone flown by an American serviceman (Aaron Paul).

However, the task escalates as it’s clear the terrorists are planning a major bombing campaign.

So the question becomes do you blow up the house the terrorists are in, in a friendly country, knowing there will be civilian casualties.

Director and writer Gavin Hood ramps up the dilemma by showing the people in the area are normal folk going about their daily business.

Discussions on whether to go ahead are held in the UK and US, with politicians passing the buck.

In the meantime Lieutenant General Frank Benson (the late Alan Rickman in his final on-screen role), watching the politicians agonise, waits for a decision.

Rickman is excellent in this role while Helen Mirren never seems to fail to produce.

Aaron Paul gives us a real insight into the anguish of someone effectively asked to kill innocent people for ‘the greater good’.

And a special mention for Barkhad Abdi who was so good in 2013’s Captain Phillips and shows again, in his role as an undercover agent, that he has great talent.

The one disappointment for the film is the almost cliched view, though, that the US is gung-ho over terrorism while the UK can’t make a decision.

Overall, though, this is an excellent movie that will leave you with questions to ponder over.

Film details: Eye in the Sky (15) 102mins

Director: Gavin Hood

Starring: Alan Rickman, Helen Mirren Aaron Paul

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol