seen @ City Cinemas East, New York, NY
Eye in the Sky deals with a relatively new and unusual form of combat, namely, drone warfare. Pilots fly planes by remote control and target people or places via surveillance cameras. There's a lot of debate as to how America has used drones, and whether or not they even should, and if you wanna see the arguments on both sides, just look at this.
How do I feel about it? Well, as far as I understand it, the technology is being used by other countries already, and it could give some of them a leg up on us if one of them decides to use it against us. Naturally, I would hope that we can be judicious and responsible in the use of this technology, or at least, as much so as we can, though that may be easier said than done. But I admit I don't know enough about the issue to have a strong opinion either way.
Eye (another movie without opening credits, by the way) imagines one of those no-win situations that come up every now and then in movies like this: a joint US-England drone warfare operation, led by Helen Mirren, leads to the discovery of known, wanted terrorists in Nairobi. Mirren's about to call down the thunder on them when a little local girl is discovered within the kill zone, and suddenly Mirren has to try and figure out how to carry out the strike against the terrorists without killing the girl.
It was really good; very tense and very good at showing us what drone warfare is really like. Mirren tries hard to stick to the rules of engagement, but the rulebook obviously doesn't prepare one for a scenario such as this. Much of the problem involves getting permission from her superiors in London, who are split on the issue, as you might imagine.Plus, even with all their surveillance cameras and agents on the ground, they can still only see so much.
It was nice to see Barkhad Abdi, the Oscar-nominated actor from Captain Phillips, again, and as a good guy this time - a field agent who can pass for a local, and who controls hidden cameras that let Mirren see into the bad guys' hideout. I hope Hollywood continues to find work for him, especially in movies other than this. I have no idea how much range he has as an actor, but he deserves a shot at escaping the dangers of typecasting.
It was also very nice to see the late Alan Rickman one more time. He plays Mirren's boss back in London, who has to deal with the politicians. I wouldn't say his is a spectacular role, but he's fine. A little stiff, perhaps. As fine a dramatic actor as he was, I thought he had a particular gift for comedy as well, and I'm glad we got to see him do a little bit of both throughout his career on film and stage.
I saw Eye in a theater I'd never been to before, the City Cinemas East on East 86th Street. I suppose it's an annex of the more well-known City Cinemas further south on East 60th, though it's (currently) cheaper by three and a half bucks. Seats were comfortable, bathroom was clean. I'd go there again.
I went with Vija and Franz and a relative newcomer to our moviegoing group: Vija's old boss, Jane. From what Vija used to tell me, the two of them did not always get along when they worked together, yet now that they don't have to see each other every day, they looked like they were great pals. I thought she was quite nice, but then, I've always liked Vija's friends. Didn't get a chance to ask Jane about her time working with Vija, though, not even afterwards when we went for Japanese food. Maybe next time.