Thursday 21 April 2016

Eye In The Sky ... 'Hood' winked

TRAILERS are supposed to be taken with a pinch of salt as they present just the best bits of films to
entice people, but at least you know what you're getting.
  The same can't be said for South African director Gavin Hood's Eye In The Sky, which purports to be a thriller about using a drone to flush out or destroy a terrorist cell in Nairobi, Kenya, but instead turns out to be a long-winded debate about the collateral damage of killing one girl.

  As I sat in the cinema and counted down the minutes till the first bout of action, I wondered how many times Hollywood wanted to portray Americans and Britons as morally upright and conscientious people who'd do anything to not harm civilians in a military operation.
    We know this is a fantasy, and that Americans and Britons would have no scruples blasting people, innocent or otherwise, to kingdom come.
   Can you imagine a drone pilot finding excuses to delay pulling the trigger? He'd have been court martialed. But Eye In The Sky portrays him (Aaron Paul) as an honourable person who'd go out of his way to reduce civilian casualties. Why, he and his partner even shed a few tears for the dead.
  Furthermore, the back-and-forth cutting to get permission to shoot becomes tedious. British Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren, probably a bit old for the role of a colonel) is supervising a drone-backed mission to nab a few al-Shabaab recruits and members in a ramshackle area of Nairobi.
Blow them sky high.
    However, things move into another gear when suicide vests are seen, and Powell aggressively pursues the goal of firing a drone missile at the cell house. Her boss, Lieutenant-General Frank Benson (the late Alan Rickman), is in a meeting with the attorney-general and defence minister.
  Everyone's eyes are fixed on the screen, showing them and us what the drone and cute bug see. This is where things start to get annoying. It seems that no politician wants to make a decision, so we have the views of the prime minister, foreign secretary, US president and an assortment of characters.
  Hood wants to show that Westerners exhaust all options before killing militants and some civilians, but I doubt if this scenario is possible. Firstly, it gets boring in the film, and secondly, the arguments are rehashed from other films, for example, if the army doesn't take them out now, the suicide bombers would wreak greater havoc.
 Benson says: "We have to know we're legally in the clear."
  A US lawyer says: "You are putting everything at risk for one girl."
'Breaking Bad' was easier on the brains.
  The ping-pong game continues unabated, with even the foreign secretary interrupted when he's defecating in a toilet.
2 out of 5 stars

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