Eye in the Sky: A movie review (sort of, though there are a FEW spoilers), but more of a reflection

This last weekend my husband and I celebrated our anniversary. As part of the celebration, we went on a date to see the movie "Eye in the Sky" with Helen Mirren (my liege and Queen), Alan Rickman (I think this was likely his last movie, though I don't know for sure), and Barkhad Abdi, who played the main pirate in Captain Phillips (and was phenomenal at it, as he was here, playing an agent for the British in Kenya).

There she is. Strong and beautiful as the day is long.

I'll give a very brief, and hopefully mostly spoiler free, synopsis. In this movie Helen Mirren plays a UK Colonel who is acting as liaison working in the US with the Air Force. The US has the drones the Brits need to surveil (and possibly, if things happen to escalate, strike) targets in a terror plot occurring in Kenya.

Amazingly, things do escalate, and it quickly moves from surveillance to the necessary strike question. All of it is thrown off when a little girl sets up her bread selling stand right within the kill zone (who has a very progressive father who wants her to learn to read and study science right in the middle of a rebel zone. So of course our sympathies are hedged on their side, because they are just trying to live their lives and all that jazz....though the father is also working for the terrorists, so we have the old "just trying to make ends meet but overall a decent fellow" conundrum thrown in for good measure).

Rickman, looking at an idiot politician with disgust and incredulousness, no doubt


Now I'm not going to go into all the nitty gritty details here, but this movie did a good job of bringing some messy questions and morality in warfare topics out in the open. Surprisingly, they did it in an awfully pragmatic way, devoid of most of the pie-in-the-sky hand-wringing and "we are only here due to a lack of hugs from the Western Powers" implications they usually beat us over the head with. Although, there was that moment where the drone driver was freaking out over a bunch of questions that I didn't find entirely plausible. But besides that pansy, it was very well handled. Even the young female co-pilot was pretty down to earth.

In one brief movie (just over an hour and a half long), they manage to address in a coherent and fairly conceivable narrative: Dealing with bureaucrats trying to make political gains, relations between allies (the US came off as very professional and calculated, which I supported), supporting those who support us, acceptable collateral damage, mission drift, and the people who are doing everything they can to realistically get a nasty job done vs. the people who don't really care about that. The best quote from the whole thing is by Alan Rickman's character, Lt. General Frank Benson: "Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war."

Check it out of you want something interesting, about warfare (drone warfare in particular), and not morally black and white. In other words, some of my favorite things


Abdi, totally nailing it again