Run time: 102mins

Director: Gavin Hood

Cast: Alan Rickman, Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam

Synopsis: London-based military intelligence officer Colonel Katherine Powell is remotely commanding a top secret drone operation to capture a group of dangerous terrorists from their safe-house in Nairobi, Kenya. The mission suddenly escalates from a “capture” to a “kill” operation as Powell realizes that the terrorists are about to embark on a deadly suicide mission. From his base in Nevada, American drone pilot Steve Watts is poised to destroy the safe-house when a nine year old girl enters the kill zone just outside the walls of the house. With unforeseen collateral damage now entering the equation, the impossible decision of when to strike gets passed up the “kill chain” of politicians and lawyers as the seconds tick down.

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Director Gavin Hood (Ender’s Game (2013), X-Men Origins -Wolverine (2009), Rendition (2007) brings distinction to this tense, intelligent contemporary drama – which unfolds almost in real time – about modern warfare and drones.

The unbearable, nail-biting action switches between a Surrey military base, London, Nairobi and Nevada, in this forensic examination of the complex political, legal and moral decision making in modern warfare.

Working with her American counterparts and the Kenyan military, Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) supervises a covert operation in Nairobi, Kenya to capture a UK woman who is a member of a Somali terrorist group. Field Agent Jama Farah (Barkhad Abdi) has tracked the woman, Susan Danford, to a safe house where it becomes clear that the group are planning an attack somewhere else in the city. Powell requests that the mission be changed to eliminate the terrorist group with a drone strike.  Her liaison in Whitehall, Lieutenant General Frank Benson (a final performance from the wonderful Alan Rickman) insists on this action but is stymied by political and legal wrangling. When clearance finally comes a young girl starts selling bread outside the safe house and in Nevada drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) refuses to launch the strike as the suicide bombers prepare to leave the house.

A superb ensemble cast and an excellent taut screenplay by Guy Hibbert are superbly served by a dramatic, pulsing music score from Paul Hopker and Mark Killian.

Eye in the Sky is a contemporary thriller with a timely reminder about the horrific consequences of the decisions of war.  It is dedicated to its brilliant star, the late Alan Rickman, who fittingly has the last line of dialogue in the film.

Images courtesy of Entertainment One UK