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Film review: 'Eye in the Sky'

'Eye in the Sky' is an intense morality drama that will have you on pins and needles.

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  • | 5:08 p.m. April 6, 2016
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The new film, "Eye in the Sky," begins with a quote from the Greek poet Aeschylus: "In war truth is the first casualty." And from that point forward, we watch how relevant the phrase is to this very day.

Helen Mirren plays Col. Katherine Powell, an unflappable British commander whose mission is to capture an ex-pat-turned-terrorist in Kenya. Suddenly the well orchestrated operation escalates into "a kill" when surveillance cameras show her terrorist group donning suicide vests. One problem. A young gilr is spotted selling bread just outside the target. And time is of the essence.

The mission has been well coordinated with the U.S. and now fears of a possible international incident could entail future litigation. As Powell's impatience grows, back in the U.S. drone pilot (Aaron Paul) has reservations as to pulling the trigger. There's also conflict in the British War Room as they, too, are eye-witnessing what's about to go down. Is one life lost worth saving countless others?

Prepare to be poised on pins and needles as the drama plays out. Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood (who also stars) creates an intense morality play in which one cannot help taking sides. His filming technique is astounding as we witness the POV of the film's characters via high tech surveillance devices. Bird cameras fly rooftop to window sills and mechanized beetle-like bugs actually fly into interior spaces. It's amazing technology, quite scary, in fact.

Mirren, as always is on top of her game, steely and stoic. But it's her superior, British Lt. Frank Benson, portrayed by the divine Alan Rickman who steals the show. He was truly the master at reigned-in, riveting performances and in "Eye in the Sky" he gives it his all with that signature subtly. 

The global goings on these days are beyond touchy. Legal ramifications can fuel stand down situations with dire consequences. Sometimes the truth must be compromised for the greater good. In the end Rickman's character puts it into perspective as he observes, "Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war." And his delivery has never been better.

"In Loving Memory of Alan Rickman" 



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