Hood’s follow-up to the 2013 sci-fi Ender’s Game is penned by British screenwriter Guy Hibbert (Five Minutes of Heaven) and features Mirren in the central role of hard-nosed Colonel Katherine Powell, who is commanding a drone strike on a terrorist group in Nairobi. When an innocent young bread-seller wanders into the area, however, the decision to green-light the strike becomes increasingly complicated.
Mirren, is of course, the main draw of the film. An iconic chameleonic actress who has wowed in myriad features, television and stage productions from Prime Suspect to Brighton Rock, The Hundred-Foot Journey to Trumbo, Mirren is endlessly watchable and is here given a truly multi-dimensional role as discussions about the ethical machinations of war grow more heated.
Mirren is lent excellent support by the late Alan Rickman, playing the military man whose job it is to convince a reluctant Prime Minister (Jeremy Northam) to green-light the action, and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as the conscientious drone pilot who will take physical responsibility for the strike.
Combining tense action with an exploration of the psychological demands, and impact, of modern drone warfare, Eye in the Sky also demonstrates that strong female characters can command the genre as resoundingly as their male counterparts. Strong stuff, indeed. — Nikki Baughan:
AWFJ Movie of the Week Panelists Comments:
Sheila Roberts My recommendation is Gavin Hood’s suspenseful new thriller, Eye in the Sky, which explores in real time the moral, political and personal ramifications of modern warfare. It features a strong performance by Helen Mirren as a British military officer in charge of a high level drone operation targeting terrorists in Kenya. Sadly, it’s also the late Alan Rickman’s final cinematic role.
Title: Eye in the Sky
Directors: Gavin Hood
Release Date: March 11, 2016
Running Time: 102 minutes
Shooting Location(s): South Africa
Principal Cast: Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, Aaron Paul
Screenwriters: Guy Hibbert
Production Companies: eOne Films, Moonlighting Films, Raindog Films
Distributor: Bleecker Street Media
AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Nikki Baughan, Anne Brodie, Candice Frederick, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, Loren King, Cate Marquis, Katherine McLaughlin, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Perri Nemiroff, Sheila Roberts, Liz Whittemore, Jeanne Wolf.
Edited by Sandra Kraisirideja, AWFJ.org Associate Editor