I’m going to start straight away by saying this film is absolutely fantastic!! It’s been a long time since I’ve come out of a cinema having been so enraptured from start to finish and days after seeing it I am still raving about it to all who’ll listen (whether they want to or not!).
The storyline follows Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren), a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya. The first part of the film follows Powell as she tracks down these terrorists inside a house but her mission soon escalates when an innocent girl enters the kill zone triggering problems both morally and ethically. Powell and her team must decide whether to carry on in their mission, potentially harming the girl or let the girl live and risk losing the perfect opportunity to stop these terrorists before they kill hundreds more.
Though the mission is based in Kenya, Powell is actually based in a military compound in England and is tracking the mission through various technologies and phone calls around the world. For not only has Powell got men on the ground in Kenya (including Barkhad Abdi who’s probably best known for his role as Muse in Captain Phillips) but her main source of technology comes from a drone flying high above Kenya and this is being controlled by two people in America (Aaron Paul aka Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad and Phoebe Fox). This drone gives a birds-eye view over the surrounding areas and the key target, and is also from which the fatal missile will be released from.
Though Powell is very much in charge of this mission and all the actions made, she has to answer to the Lieutenant General Frank Benson (the lovely Alan Rickman in his last ever acting role) and a roomful of Government officials who are ensuring that nothing is occurring that will harm the country in any way. Unfortunately for Powell it is soon clear that no-one in the room is agreeing as to which way the mission should go, and when there is a limited time to make important decisions her frustration becomes evident. This frustration is something which transfers to the audience too, particularly later in the film when time really is running out and the officials are all too scared to make the ultimate decision whether to let the girl live or not. Though infuriating it brings a light sense of humour to an otherwise seriously tense film. Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont in Games of Thrones) in particular brings a lot of laughs as the Foreign Secretary.
Visually Eye in the Sky is stunning, we are given plenty of birds-eye views and are shown things through camera lenses at the same time as the characters so you really feel like you are a part of the mission too. The technology used is amazing from the drone in the sky to a remote controlled camera hidden inside a small model of a beetle. One thing I will say though is that all the switching between camera views can make you a little dizzy! Also at first it is a little confusing when we are taken to the various countries and meeting all those involved in the mission but it doesn’t take long to pick up where the characters are based and what role they bring.
Helen Mirren is superb as Powell, as is Alan Rickman, who will always be in my heart for his portrayal of Professor Snape in Harry Potter. At the end of the film a dedication is made towards Alan who sadly passed away earlier this year. It’s great that his final acting role was in such a brilliant film and he was able to go out on a high.
The main thing to point out about Eye in the Sky, and the reason as to why this film is so tense throughout, is that the film is shown in ‘real time’. So from the moment the mission starts we are following the action as it happens. There are no flashbacks or anything like that, what we see is exactly what is unfolding at that moment in time for us and the characters. Therefore the whole film is gripping and so tense as we watch with bated breath to see what happens next as time slowly runs out for the team and their mission.
Overall Eye in the Sky is utterly fantastic, from the brilliant acting to the amazing cinematography everything comes together to create an unforgettable film. I thoroughly recommend you go and see this film and I only wish it had been realised earlier in the year as I’m sure it would have received many awards!