Eye in the Sky

August 7, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Posted in 2016 | Leave a comment
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We have no shortage of war movies in the vast canon of American film. We have films that glorify war, demonize war, or remain relentlessly neutral. We have films from every possible perspective and virtually every war. So, it’s hard to tell a new story or shed much light on the subject. That said, “Eye in the Sky” certainly tries hard and does, in part, succeed. It tells the story of a single event in the War on Terror, as a group of politicians and soldiers try to decide if they should initiate a drone attack on a house filled with known terror suspects. Collected in small rooms around the world, these decision makers range from the drone pilot up to Cabinet members from the U.S., Britain and Kenya. They debate, agonize and attempt to shift responsibility back and forth and time slowly runs out. The tight spaces and close camera angles effectively add to the building tension as director Gavin Hood (“Ender’s Game,” “X-Men Origins”) does everything he can to muddy the waters. The result is a mess made so morally ambivalent that it can feel a bit heavy handed. However, Hood seems to be creating an allegory as much as entertainment. But, where most allegories have a clear moral at the end, we are left wondering what was the right decision here. For those who have a strong opinion about drone warfare (on either side) and want the film to reinforce their beliefs, this will be an exercise in frustration. War is messy and Hood wants us to stare into the heart of that mess. He has no answers for us, only nagging questions.

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