A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Gavin Hood
Written By: Guy Hibbert
Produced By: Grímar Jónsson
Starring: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Dame Hellen Mirren as a high-ranking army commander? You’ve got to be joking!
It wouldn’t be a surprise if this reaction was commonplace amongst audiences heading in to see exactly just how convincing the celebrated talent could be.
Astonishingly enough, Mirren shines in the uncharacteristic role, as do the remaining cast members of Eye In The Sky, most notably of which includes the late Alan Rickman in his last on screen performance.
A true surprise package that on paper seems rather generic and tiresome, Eye In The Sky is a captivating, gripping war thriller that grasps the essence of truth and humanity supremely well, particularly within its modern day setting.
A film that addresses the moral dilemmas that come with superior modern warfare and it’s incredibly meticulous, infuriating process, Eye In The Sky is not an explosive, high-octane epic full of stimulating, trigger-happy patriotism, it’s mercifully the polar opposite.
In a strange mix of edge-of-your-seat tension, escalating stakes and humour focusing on plush toys and bodily functions, the crux of the film is set against a series of people conversing with one another in real time, whilst looking a screens and being redirected to a higher authority.
The hierarchal aspect of the picture is explored with a deliberately tiresome touch, as phone calls are made with a ticking clock that threatens to jeopardise an entire mission. With Mirren’s Colonel Katherine Powell at the forefront, doing her best to capture several of her most wanted targets via drone surveillance, her conversations range from debates with legal advisors to top flight politicians who are more focused on the ramifications in the propaganda war.
The circumstances within the story escalate dramatically, therefore making the film itself more cinematic. Constantly jumping back and forth between various correspondents in various rooms in various countries watching various screens, the film builds tension steadily and with an acute sense of direction.
For a thriller, the unfolding of plot is up there with the best in recent memory, purely due to the controlled escalation and unthinkable situations that arise. Just when some closure and security can be felt, an extraneous variable will surface, throwing another chaotically engrossing cat amongst the pigeons.
Eye In The Sky is able to highlight the incredible abilities of modern warfare, especially when considering the scarily rapid rate at which it advances and changes the nature of combat all together. The advancements in question expose potential risks and moral dilemmas that were once overlooked, therefore adding to the dramatic nature of certain procedures.
The film addresses the process involved in making a decision that isn’t as straightforward as pulling a trigger and eliminating an enemy.
Revolving around the risks to innocent civilians that could follow a possible airstrike, aspects of morality and humanity seep through the cracks and inject life into these otherwise rigid and generic characters; an imperative element in a self-contained thriller.
Gavin Hood’s masterfully gripping thriller champions most to emerge in the last few years, purely due to it’s clever and calculated unravelling of narrative points. It’s a cleverly structured piece that knows where to go and precisely when to strike, leaving the audience clutching their seat in tense anticipation. It’s violent only when utterly necessary, which allows the story to follow the dramatic buildup and arks of the characters in high pressure situations.
Mirren is excellent in the challenging leading role, whilst performances from her recent call history list including Aaron Paul and Barkhad Abdi shine through considerably.
Alan Rickman exhibits some of his finest work in (tragically) his last on-screen role. His acts as a bridge between the audience and characters with his rock-and-hard-place circumstances that also offers a peppering of appropriately satirical humour.
The overall dynamic of the hierarchical cast is very well executed, making for some tremendously enveloping scenes that will have you locked in to the escalating, but refreshingly restrained action.