From New York Post
By Lou Lumenick
Would you sacrifice a cute 9-year-old-girl to save hundreds of people from a terrorist bombing? That’s the awful choice in “Eye in the Sky,’’ which works equally well as a nail-biting thriller, a dark political satire and a smart examination of the ethics of remote-control war.
Helen Mirren is terrific as Col. Powell, the tough commander of a multinational anti-terrorist task force that, after six years of searching, has finally located a radicalized Englishwoman (Lex King) most recently responsible for a horrific shopping-mall bombing in Nairobi.
With the support of the Kenyan government, there are plans to capture her alive with her American boyfriend, as well as another terrorist on the most-wanted list. But that changes when surveillance shows two Somali terrorists donning explosive vests in a safe house where the three are holed up.
Powell, with the support of Lt. Gen. Benson (the late Alan Rickman), proposes an unmanned-drone bombing strike on the safe house — much to the horror of senior British officials who nervously refer the new decision all the way up the chain of command to the prime minister.
While they’re waiting for the PM and the US president to give the go-ahead, the American drone “pilot’’ (Aaron Paul) who actually has to pull the trigger (from Nevada) notices that a little girl (Aisha Takow) has begun selling bread in the collateral-damage zone just outside the safe house.
Under 21st-century rules of engagement, he’s entitled to ask for a revised “risk assessment’’ — even as the British pols start calculating whether possible p.r. fallout if the girl is accidentally killed might outweigh the benefit of avoiding another terrorist attack with many casualties.
South African director Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine’’) pulls off some really tricky tonal shifts. He’s abetted by a terrific cast, including Barkhad Abdi (Oscar nominated for “Captain Phillips’’) as a surveillance expert who tries to save the girl — and Rickman in his final on-screen appearance, one of his very best.
3 1/2 out of 4 stars
Published by: Scott Varnado in Uncategorized