Al-Shabaab suicide bombers have attacked Nairobi, Kenya and joint British and American Forces are monitoring a group of people on their most wanted list using drones and hidden cameras. Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is leading a military operation alongside her superior, Lt. General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman), who is monitoring operations in a cabinet room with political and legal advisers.
Colonel Powell is working from a UK military base with drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) located in his base in Nevada and ground forces in Nairobi to co-ordinate a capture mission quickly turns into a kill mission at the sight of new Al-Shabaab recruits being wrapped in suicide vests. General Benson (Alan Rickman) is captured in a frustrating position when nobody round the cabinet room table wants to take responsibility and approve the strike without a superior’s permission, made more difficult when a young girl sets up a market stall within the “kill zone” causing everyone to re-think an already impossible decision.
This dramatic and emotional movie really puts a very personal point of view on what can be seen as an impersonal attack, attacking from a drone without necessarily understanding the consequences. We build a connection with this girl who happens to make her way into the kill zone and understand the complex dilemma between having UK and US military forces kill a young girl or have Al-Shabaab potentially kill many using suicide bombers. Gavin Hood’s Eye in the Sky brings up a number of difficult questions about the morals of war, but regardless of your views, does bring you into this intense story.
This is unfortunately Alan Rickman’s last live action role before he lost his battle with cancer. There is an impressive emotional moment at the end of the movie when he tells an angry politician to “never tell a solider he doesn't know the cost of war”. This felt like a great close to a magnificent career.
There were impressive performances from the whole cast on this movie, particularly so from Aaron Paul and Helen Mirren’s emotional roles. The movie allows you to build your own opinion of the situation, it’s neither pro-war nor anti-war, but does clearly and fantastically display the consequences of intervening and not.