Almost exactly a year ago I saw the war drone drama ‘Good Kill’ and I really didn’t take to it. So when I saw posters and trailers surface for ‘Eye in the Sky’ I assumed that this would be of a similar level of entertainment to ‘Good Kill’. The good cast and posthumous performance of Alan Rickman helped me to put aside my worries but I still wasn’t expecting much or overly excited to watch this film.
The strength of this film was always going to be in how well it dealt with the ethical issues so apparent within this area of the military. I felt that last years ‘Good Kill’ really on scratched the surface with this element and that they really missed an opportunity, and opportunity that ‘Eye in the Sky’ has taken good advantage of. This film does discuss the ethical implications well. The narrative is quite focused so allows for thorough deliberation and despite the streamlined story the film actually held my attention very well. The ethical issue was dealt with well due to the range of characters we were exposed to, from the drone pilot pushing the trigger right up to the political leaders who have to make the decisions, ‘Eye in the Sky’ highlighted the process and aftermath of drone warfare quite well. Some of the sequences are very effective, the variation of the drone footage and on the ground points of view worked well together and again helped the audience to experience different perspectives.
However, whilst the ethical arguments were interesting and unfolds out well for the most part the narrative is bogged down by some baffling moments that just didn’t seem appropriate. I’m not sure if these silly moments were meant to get laughs but they always just seemed out of place considering the subject matter of the film. The same can be said for some of the dialogue too. These flaws are a real shame though as the film was doing a very credible job but it has to be said that these moments do decrease the quality of the picture. One thing that surely doesn’t though is the performances from the leading cast. Alan Rickman was great, he channeled the audiences feelings, particularly frustration, perfectly and stood out amongst his surrounding cast. Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul and Barkhad Abdi were all good too in their respective roles. The rest of the supporting cast are slightly hit and miss, but they often struggle to get past the bizarre inclusion of some silly dialogue and scenarios, understandably so. Nonetheless as a whole the cast work well together and with the strong leads the films narrative does come together nicely.
So without the inclusion of those strange narrative moments and unbelievable dialogue ‘Eye in the Sky’ could have been a really wonderful drone drama. Whilst it has to overcome these problems the film still ends up being good and likeable. Strong performances alongside some nice variation in sequences and a stimulating ethical debate means that ‘Eye in the Sky’ is certainly a step forward from ‘Good Kill’ but could have hit the target more accurately. All the same I’d reccomend the film for the discussion it can evoke if nothing else.
Rating – 7/10
Question: What’s your favourite film that evokes an ethical debate?
(Leave your answers in the comments below!)
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