11 Mar [Spoiler Free] Eye in the Sky Review – A Stumble in the Right Direction
Drone strikes have the same polarising effect as the issue of government surveillance. Not so much in South Africa where both topics seem fairly distant, more so with the former. Nonetheless, drone strikes and their merits are hotly debated across the globe. Some see it as a necessary evil, whereas others consider it to be completely against everything we should stand for as human beings.
It was this highly controversial debate that the film, Eye in the Sky (EITS), thrust itself into and attempted to unravel. The outcome?
Tackling a difficult topic
EITS does a brave, but more importantly, fair job of discussing a murky topic. Drone strikes stir passionate emotions on both sides of the line, yet the film went in head first, with no regrets. It did a decent job of looking at both sides of the argument and attempted to give compelling reasons for each.
Colonel Katherine Powell
Played by the brilliant Helen Mirren, Col. Powell was a powerful figure that added a lot of depth and intensity to the film. She single-handedly carried a lot of mediocre acting during the film. A strong voice and a character that was determined to get her way, made her scenes compelling throughout.
To the point
The film knew exactly what it wanted to say and wasted no time in getting there. A film having a running time of 102 minutes is rare. The benefit of such a short film meant that there was little waffling and a more crafted piece in the end.
Supporting cast being, you know, actually supportive
Later on I’ll explain how many of the lead roles were rather disappointing, but the supporting cast were great in this film for the most part. They all gave believable performances and helped to really hammer home the various points they were making with regards to the overall debate on drone strikes. Special mention here to Barkhad Abdi who played his role incredibly.
Without spoiling anything, the ending to the movie was a punch to the gut. After the screening was over, not a single person stood up immediately in the cinema I was in. We all sat there, stunned and soaking up what we had witnessed. This is, to be honest, the saving grace that made this movie such a memorable experience.
Inability to take a firm stance
There’s nothing more dissatisfying than a movie that refuses to take a stance on a topic it tackles, as was the case with EITS. There’s nothing wrong with showing both sides of an argument, in fact that’s to be expected, but whether it was an indecisive director or poor acting, the film leaves you wondering where it stands on the issue, which ultimately lessens the viewing experience.
The lead roles
Aside from Helen Mirren, the lead roles were rather poor in the acting department — the one thing they’re supposed to bring to the table. Aaron Paul was forgettable to say the least. Alan Rickman was basically playing Snape but in a modern, war-based, film.
Nothing new in the arguments
The arguments for and against drone strikes are fairly straightforward in the film. They raise the obvious points, the kind that you could make without doing any research into the issue. It leads to another disappointment as you wonder if any real fact-finding was done before filming.
Eye in the Sky will attempt to guide you to your own conclusion on drone strikes with a chilling plot, but one that ultimately falters as the film stumbles over mediocre acting and generic insights that you could most likely find on Wikipedia. The film had an opportunity to really open people’s eyes in new ways and provoke real discussion, but instead the timidity of the director leads the film to an easy and safe path that will make it forgettable and fade into the myriad of war films that try to give social commentary into a topic the world is, unfortunately, so desensitised to.
Eye in the Sky has just hit the cinemas at Nu Metro today.