Eye in the Sky

April 10, 2016 - When does the good of the one outweigh the good of the many? Reality and morality clash in this suspense-filled tale of modern international warfare. Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman (in what appears to be his final on-screen role) star as British military types. Aaron Paul plays the USAF drone pilot with a conscience.

Ground zero is Kenya, where intelligence says three terrorists on the "most wanted" list are reported to be meeting. One of them is a British woman who was radicalized and is now married to another suspected terrorist. The mission here is to capture, not kill.

The plan calls for aerial surveillance using an American drone piloted by an Air Force Lieutenant (Paul) in Nevada. Once the targets are confirmed, a team of Kenyan soldiers on the ground will move in and capture them. British Colonel Katherine Powell (Mirren) will direct the action from a base in England. A British general (Rickman) and several political types will monitor and advise from a cushy conference room in London.

Everything starts off according to plan. It's so routine, that the drone pilot and co-pilot have time to pan the camera around. They see a young girl hula hooping outside her home. That bit of normalcy doesn't last long, though, because the terror suspects unexpectedly move to another location. Surveillance reveals they're not just meeting; they're preparing for a suicide bombing. This new information changes the mission from "capture" to "kill," but the girl with the hula hoop reappears and throws a proverbial spanner into the works.

Overall review: *** A tense thriller with good performances all around. The ethical dilemma portrayed here provides just a glimpse of what the real men and women of allied armed forces around the world must consider on a daily basis as they fight the war on terror as best they can.