WARNING: This one gets a little spoiler-y.
Most films that I adore have right and wrong answers, and usually the question is whether two people will fall in love and be happy forever. I am a total NUT for a really decent romantic comedy.
Sometimes, movies ask really complicated questions, and don’t actually provide any sort of an answer. Instead, it is just life and things happen and people make choices and the world keeps spinning with people being haunted by choices they make or don’t make, and no one has closure when it’s all over. They merely have the path they took.
EYE IN THE SKY is a movie about war and collateral damage. It’s easy to become desensitized to the idea of collateral damage. As we watch our adventure and action movies and see buildings blow up, we don’t usually see the people that were in or around the building and it’s easy to forget that everything is a ripple effect.
EYE IN THE SKY opens with a mission led by the superb Helen Mirren. She is tracking members off the top 10 terrorist watch list and is working with both British and American agencies to find and ultimately arrest these suspects. (Spoiler) However, things change when it is revealed that these suspects are not just meeting, but instead planning an attack. Alan Rickman (sad, sad) brilliantly plays fellow British military personnel left to play the politics between what the military feels it should do and what politicians feel should be done. And finally, Aaron Paul plays an American soldier in charge of the drone collecting information and then being asked to take “the shot.”
All three actors are compelling in their roles, and the supporting cast around them are solid. My mother and I were speaking about how the conversation around modern warfare is that it’s not really personal because many times soldiers aren’t engaged in hand-to-hand combat. I think this movie really challenges this idea. Yes, Aaron Paul’s soldier is not on the ground with a gun, but he has a clear picture of what is going on in the area. And therein lies the BIG question in the movie. (More spoilers) When Mirren realizes what’s happening, she wants Paul’s character to level the place. However, there is a girl sitting near the building. One girl. Is her life worth more than stopping known terrorists who are planning some sort of attack which could kill fifty or one hundred or more people?
What makes the film both unsettling and so good is watching this question played out over and over from the different perspectives of everyone involved. I was surprised by what I felt and thought, and it was an interesting gut check to have.
This film also marks the final on-screen performance of Alan Rickman. A great actor, Rickman was the best sort of performer. Although usually tagged the villain, he was able to play every sort of role. Once again, he gives an interesting, nuanced and complex performance. He will be missed. (Also, if you want to see him at his most charming, make sure to watch SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. His performance is lovely.)
Final thoughts: A compelling and interesting film that asks a hard question. The cast is fabulous, but beware that this film is slower-paced and requires some patience. Overall, I thought it was really well done.
photo credit: http://www.movieweb.com