This has to be the best movie I watched so far in 2016. It was tense, apropos, and intelligent. The film could easily convert to a game simulation, where each participant selects a role for the same engagement. The outcome should be interesting.
Technology has changed the old rules of engagement, where time delay could be advantageous, and the silver lining would be the prevention of a bad decision. The Internet, network servers, and satellite data transmission have altered how information flows in comparison to 20 or 30 years ago: speed, time, and volume. Information or too much information (TMI) has become a foe in our current warfare: analysis paralysis. Such is the case in Eye in the Sky. Secondly, geopolitics has made time-sensitive decision-making discombobulated. Ultimately, confusions make players paralyze: will I be responsible? Such an irony of fighting terrorism in a democratic process. Meanwhile, the enemy has only one aim: maximize the power of destructions.
Colonel Katherine Powell(Helen Mirren) wakes up to start her day at 03:30. It’s an important day cause she finally has reliable intel of Susan Danford (Lex King), a British subject that had been radicalized. She is now the most dangerous renegade on earth. Powell has been tracking her whereabouts for six years; today’s mission, in Kenya, is to seek and capture Danford, but not to kill her.
Madame Powell is the commander of the ground operations; nonetheless, the final decision will be made by a committee in London: a British Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman), the head of the Ministry of Defence, the Attorney General, and a new member Angela Northman (Monica Dolan). All of them are fed with real-time satellite broadcast of the event. They are the clandestine team called Operation Cobra.
Madame Powell has local military supports and they are ready to pounce as soon as Powell says yes. The U.S, on the other hand, has provided an aerial drone for the delivery of the payload to the target. The drone is operated by a spanking clean rookie, Carrie Gershon (Phoebe Fox), and a virgin pilot, Steve Watts(Aaron Paul); they station inside a trailer in a military compound on the outskirt of Las Vegas.
When the local army in Kenya is ready to deploy, the rules of engagement change; The target is moving to a different location and the local surveillance team can not confirm the identity of Danford inside either convoy.
By luck, a ground surveillance confirms two more of the five most wanted terrorists at the new location. Instead of cheering for the windfall, a new threat put them in a dire compromise: collateral damages.
The best part of the film was watching the indecision among those “powerful” people, and how each one of them is trying to pass the buck, except Madame Powell.
Mirren, a paragon of the movie biz, as colonel Powell was formidable and filled with anger, torture, conflict, humanity, frustration…all on display in her facial expressions scene after scene. Paul and Fox’s emotions were well placed, they succeeded in convincing me that they were really green at jobs that demand them to be stolid. The late Rickman gave us a torn 21st century General who could not command, instead, he has to work with a group of fence-sitting bureaucrats that had absolutely no experience and concept of a war. Those vivid interpretations of these well-known actors, a coherent script, and those thick and suffocating situations have made this a MUST.