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Fri May 27 12:20:50 SAST 2016

Movie Review: Hood hones in on drones

Tymon Smith | 11 March, 2016 00:35
TOUGH CALL: Helen Mirren in 'Eye in the Sky'
Image by: KEITH BERNSTEIN/OUTNOW

After the disappointing Ender's Game, Gavin Hood returns with Eye in the Sky - a taut and timely exploration of drone warfare and its human costs.

Following a group of UK and US soldiers and politicians over the course of one day the story, written by Guy Hibbert, creates a series of chamber pieces where the stakes are heightened once a young girl in Kenya enters the kill zone during an operation to eliminate a group of suicide bombers.

Leading the charge is Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) who has been pursuing a White Widow-inspired terrorist for some time and is anxious that this may be her only chance to eliminate her. On the other side of the pond, drone operators Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) and Carrie Gershon (Phoebe Fox) wait for clearance as politicians on both sides debate the ethics of the operation under the hawkish eye of Lieutenant-General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman in his last live action role before his death).

All of which is not making the job of trying to get the young girl selling bread out of harm's way any easier for Jama Farah (Barkhad Abi), the agent on the ground.

Hood's focus is not so much on the technical details of the drones but rather on the ethics of the debate surrounding their use and how decisions made in hotel rooms and boardrooms are ultimately realised in a few seconds of destruction in places thousands of miles away.

It's a simply told and well handled morality tale for our times. It raises important ethical questions - and it delivers slick, traditionally thrilling entertainment to boot.

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