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Film review: Eye in the Sky

film review

More like Cry in the Sky.

Emma and I went to see this film, based on some pretty positive reviews. Very good cast including Alan Rickman’s last appearance before his sad departure earlier this year. It is about the moral questions of drone attacks and collateral damage and the chain of command. As a drama it works OK even though it was clearly shot over a couple of weeks on three sets and one location. The interaction between the protagonists is done via an implausible mash-up of military grade Skype, army Snapchat and the MoD’s low spec version of WhatsApp. What doesn’t ring true (sadly) is the degree of moral analysis and high level scrutiny and challenge given to this one operation. From what I have read, operations like this have been happening on an almost daily basis for a decade or more. I doubt whether those involved would give more than a few seconds thought about collateral damage, especially if the strike was on a confirmed target as portrayed here. The reviews have been very good though. Maybe film critics are too busy to read reports about drone attacks in the papers.  For our film review, I give it 5/10. 

Emma says:   I ask you, would seasoned US airmen really be blubbing over the potential collateral damage to a single child when, by targeting one house in a Kenyan town, they could save hundreds from death at the hands of suicide bombers? Sounds harsh to say it like that. And of course it’s not a choice I would EVER want to make. But that is the situation we are asked to buy into for the whole of this film.

Let me say, it’s not a bad film. The moral dilemma it raises of modern technology allowing us to identify bombing targets with pinpoint accuracy also means we can identify the human beings who are likely to be killed beyond the target itself (the over-used phrase “collateral damage”). It’s just the way it’s portrayed here is a bit saccharine.  All that soul searching and all that waiting for a decision to fire the missile? And even then, any suspense created by this dilemma is punctured by scenes of unintended comedic and constant referring up the chain of political command by civil servants and politicians over coffee, over table tennis or even on the loo. Silly stuff.

The most enjoyable bit about this film? Watching it at the Olympic Studios in Barnes! For a couple of quid more than the local Odeon, we sat in spacious, red plush comfort; John with his carafe of wine perched on his personal table (me with my G&T) both of us munching on delicious, salted popcorn. It always makes movie night a real treat.


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