Five Reasons You’ll Love It - April 13, 2016

Eye In the Sky – Five Reasons You’ll Love It
by Kim
by Kim hmv Toronto, Bio Music, film, cats, yoga - repeat Canada Editor,

Eye In the Sky – Five Reasons You’ll Love It

Eye In the Sky might be the best movie you see this year. It will certainly be one of the most exhilarating and not because of mind-melting CGI or 3D effects. It’s thrilling because it’s a gripping story that unfolds at a breakneck pace around characters that scan as real. If that sounds quaint in a Marvel universe, just wait until you see it.

South African director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) has done a remarkable job with his remarkable cast and it’s hard to imagine anyone leaving the theatre without feeling utterly transported in myriad ways, all of them good.

Here’s the plot: Highly placed terrorists are caught in surveillance by the British military, which draws in its American counterpart for a potential drone strike to wipe them out. Alas, said terrorists are gathered in a house right in the middle of a bustling – and highly militarized – Kenyan village.

So what should be a lickety-split counter-terrorism operation is complicated by the devastating potential for collateral damage. Options are weighed as the clock ticks down, but who makes the final call – politicians or military personnel? Whose lives are most important… and what are the optics of not stopping a potential suicide bombing even if it means definitely killing innocent kids on the ground?

As the military drama opens in cinemas, we tally five of the many reasons it is worth your time and money.


It’s Alan Rickman final film…

And he exits on a high note. Rickman plays Lt. General Frank Benson, the go-between dealing with Helen Mirren’s bullish Colonel Katherine Powell – the British commander pushing for the drone strike – and the British and American governments who alternately debate and dither about what should be done. Rickman is reliably great; a curt closing speech he gives about the horrors of war sends chills. The movie is dedicated to him, and rightly so.

Gearheads (even non-gearheads) will swoon…

If you dig seeing high-tech weaponry, cutting-edge surveillance paraphernalia and the rest, then Eye In the Sky will delight. And you have to wonder: if this is what Hollywood can come up with, just imagine the futuristic gear the supremely well-financed British and American military is really deploying.

Aaron Paul in a scene from Eye In the Sky
Aaron Paul in a scene from Eye In the Sky
Actor Barkhad Abdi.
Actor Barkhad Abdi.

Rickman and Mirren get terrific support…

Since the end of Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul has been popping up all over the place. Here, he plays the American soldier charged with operating the drone that will target – or not target – that Kenyan house full of terrorists, thereby killing – or not killing – the civilians in its midst. Paul’s character is the film’s most demonstrable conscience and he plays it with moist-eyed aplomb. Also noteworthy is Somalia-born actor Barkhad Abdi, last seen as a pirate opposite Tom Hanks in 2013's also-thrilling Captain Phillips. Abdi is one to watch.

The ethics of drone strikes are paramount…

Are drone strikes ethical? There are highly compelling arguments to be made on either side of the debate, and many are aired in the course of the film. The topic is current, rooted in the real world and highly nuanced, ergo ripe for questioning. It’s all but guaranteed you’ll be pondering it long after the film’s running time.

This is genuine edge-of-your-seat entertainment…

Every single minute of Eye In the Sky feels electrified. That it pretty much unfolds in real time amps up the thrills. Not to be missed.