Eye In The Sky (2016 UK)

Stars: Helen MirrenAaron PaulAlan RickmanBarkhad Abdi

Director: Gavin Hood

Eye in the Sky is a military drama that deals with the use of drone strikes to eliminate terrorist targets in foreign countries.  In our particular story the element of acceptable collateral damage is the key factor that leads officers, ministers and anyone else who happens to be involved to procrastinate, debate, argue and at some points bungle and chicken out completely of any decision-making at all!

A target in Kenya has been identified and with the option of a ground assault ruled out only the “kill option” remains.  The collateral damage calculations have carried out and are within the acceptable legal guidelines to proceed with the strike.  The argument to strike is further strengthened when surveillance reveals that the targets are about to embark upon a suicide bombing mission.  Any collateral damage was estimated to be far less than the carnage the bombings would bring.  All seems set until drone pilot Steve Watts (Paul) spots a little girl wander into the blast radius and start selling bread.  Watts refuses to fire and, as was his right, demands another assessment of the situation.  This doesn’t go down well with Colonel Katherine Powell (Mirren) but she complies nonetheless.  Meanwhile Lieutenant General Frank Benson, played by the late Alan Rickman, has his hands full with ministers and attorney generals both in person and at other global locations trying secure the authority to fire.


It’s rare that I see two more than decent movies in the same week, I’m lucky to get two cinema visits in the same week at all.  This week has been an exception.  Having throughly enjoyed Midnight Special (Reviewed Here) earlier this week, Eye In The Sky reaches similar levels of excellent acting.  Helen Mirren delivers a hardened veteran of an officer, uncompromising and not unprepared to cross the line for the right result.  Aaron Paul turns in another emotionally driven performance which just adds to a growing list of high quality marks on his CV.  He’s a disciplined officer but he’s clearly affected by the little girl’s presence.  The, now, sadly lost Alan Rickman is a delight.  The film world is really going to miss this sort of performance.  Another veteran officer he brings such seriousness to Lieutenant General but as the debate drags on he’s clearly more and more exasperated at the inability of the people around him to make a decision.  At one point you think he might start banging heads together!  Excellent support is also not in short supply, not least from Iain Glenn, a minster with a touch of food poisoning.  This should also tell you the film does have a sense of humour but not too much to detract from the serious nature of the whole film.  Lastly and by no means least, Barkhad Abdi is marvellous as the man on the ground who works tirelessly to ensure the success of the mission without putting the little girl at risk.


An excellent drama, well-played and effective. One that makes you go away and decide for yourself what was the right thing to do.

Rating 4/5 Stars

Eye In The Sky on IMDb

Official Website


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