Saturday, April 2, 2016

Eye in the Sky (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Eye in the Sky

"Eye in the Sky" is a topical thriller by director Gavin Hood (X-Men :Wolverine) involving drones and terrorism. It is not for the faint of heart. Helen Mirren stars as Colonel Powell, who is assigned to capture three known terrorists in Nairobi before they carry out a plot. All of the elements are in place. Then to Powell's horror, she sees one of the men with a suicide vest. On the spot, she urges her team to consider a shoot- to-kill operation.

The situation is further complicated by the sight of Alia (Aisha Takow) an innocent young girl in the area. The question: does the collateral damage outweigh the wanted persons? The tension spirals upward bit by bit, helped in no small measure by the cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos, who gives us the literal eye of a bug on the wall. The camera drifts back and forth with a slow and gradual rocking to reveal one skin crawling moment after the other, making the audience almost dizzy with apprehension. Seconds pass like pinpricks. The slow drift of time owes much to Hitchcock and one cannot help but be on edge.

The quandry becomes even more knotty because the audience is well teased and pulled along. One surely sees the call to eradicate terrorists but the conscience is acutely rattled when meeting Alia. Just when a snag is made smooth, another arrives. The audience becomes the prey.

Mirren is excellent, as is the late Alan Rickman, who sadly died last year, as Lieutenant Benson. Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)  is the reluctant pilot and Barkhad Abdi of "Captain Phillips" fame does well as an undercover operative, overturning his sinister character. Both of the main actors,  Mirren and Rickman, shine because the two roles are neither good nor bad but instead highlight the amoral hell of war.

"Eye in the Sky" is an unrestrained and biting film under the deceptive guise of a thriller. It teases our wanting for a pat resolution and queasily asks all to weigh the worth of one person against others.

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