Gavin Hood's drone-warfare drama Eye in the Sky sets its sights on a planned strike in Kenya that, besides taking out a few high-profile targets about to embark on a suicide mission, will likely result in the death of a little girl selling bread near the point of impact. Key players confined to cold, official rooms on different continents realize the danger just in time to debate whether or not to move forward anyway: Helen Mirren is the trigger-happy colonel hoping to fire now and ask questions never, the late Alan Rickman is a lieutenant general tasked with convincing governmental higher-ups of the strike's urgency and Aaron Paul is one of two reluctant pilots actually controlling the drone from a base in Las Vegas. This is the banality of necessary(?) evil in 2016. The problem with movies depicting the banality of anything, of course, is that they tend to be pretty banal themselves; in setting out to be the exception to that rule, Eye in the Sky only proves it.
Accounting for nearly half the film, the centerpiece sequence begins in earnest with Mirren sending an IM to Rickman to alert him that things are a go on her end. Rickman then argues with a room full of suits over the legal and political implications of the strike for the remainder of his time onscreen. It's the war on terror as backroom chamber drama, a who-watches-the-watchmen descent into moral culpability in a system designed to avoid it. But Eye in the Sky engages these questions with such inelegance that its main resonance comes from featuring Rickman's final in-the-flesh performance.
Gavin HoodHelen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam, Iain Glen, Phoebe Fox, Carl Beukes, Monica Dolan, Lex KingGuy HibbertGed Doherty, Colin Firth, David LancasterBleecker Street Films