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Eye in the Sky

Contemporary war movie that begins in Somalia with a young girl who is playing in the yard with her father. Helen Mirren plays Colonel Powell, a British officer who has been tracking Al Shahab terrorists on the most wanted list. After several years of grueling work, the #2, #4, and #5 persons on the list are together in the same house in the same neighborhood as the young girl, one of whom is a British national. Just as Powell has gotten the okay to fire from a drone, the young girl walks out into the street and takes position to sell bread for her mother within the kill zone. The movie is about how various stakeholders deal with the situation – Colonel Power; the Lt. General, played by Alan Rickman, along with several politicians; the soldiers who are operating the drone (both who are very “green”); and the people on the ground near the scene. This is a very modern day war movie where the battles are not fought physically in the trenches but via computers and high technology. While a drone is a catalyst for the movie, the main plot is about the moral responsibilities and the choices and tradeoffs that need to be made and by whom. Once the film gets going, very suspenseful all the way until the end. It is very well directed and acted. Thumbs up from me for a movie that felt sometimes, particularly in the beginning, to be a bit patronizing, but it also seems to lay out pretty accurately the tough choices that need to be made – different kinds of choices when the wars are fought technologically at such a physical and psychological distance.

About Gary Burkholder

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