Tuesday, 26 April 2016



Drone Wars.

102 Minutes. Starring: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi & Alan Rickman. Director: Gavin Hood.

In the eye of the needle there's not much that seperates right and wrong in the pressure point of a split decision...or life and death for that very matter. But there's so much behind it all and that's why you can get more than an hour and a half worth of screen time on a subject that rests on the hair standing, split second, finger on the trigger choice between destruction and devastation. That is the critical issue at the moral core of 'Eye In The Sky'. A military minds movie that sits down with drone warfare much like the Ethan Hawke thriller 'Good Kill' of last year, that showed how soldier safe but almost video game unreal and cruel using drones in air strikes really is. 'Enders Games'' Gavin Hood's under the radar, more real life console conflict thriller, taught with Greengrass political tension is born from the same notion. Yet several otherwise quiet and unpopulated rooms from London to Las Vegas decide who will live and die for the greater good and of course the preservation of many more lives. It's almost like shooting craps in Sin City until the desert becomes big smoke. But this is more than just Sunday morning, screen time debate over a cup of tea and plate of biscuits. As Hood uncovers the big players with Dame Helen Mirren, 'Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, 'Captain Phillips'' Barkhad Abdi (no stranger to life and death tension) and the late, great, dearly missed Alan Rickman in his final feature he asks us a critical question. If you could take out a room of extremists getting ready for a suicide bombing in as safe as a safe zone could be would you? But wait...what if when you were about to engage a young girl set up a stall outside the house and started to sell bread for her family. Just what then would you do?

It's an explosive question that will stay with you like a guerilla on your back throughout the tight unfolding story that will leave your wracked nerves on the end of despairs chair. Sure there's a lot of sitting and waiting in this one. But careful what you wish for if you want something more thrilling. Because the accented action will leave you punch puncuated. From joystick games of life and death to 007's Q military grade gadgets on the ground like boots there is more than just big brother in the air up there. They're watching! But all eyes are on Helen Mirren leading this look at this picture of an all too real life video we don't even see on youtube. The Dame whose played everyone from The Queen to an out of retirement, gun-totting action heroine in 'R.E.D' (but never a damsel in distress) suits up again in camo for a commanding performance, leaving everyone addressing her as 'Maam'...as well they should. You have to bow down to a knighted talent like this, following in the legendary footsteps of national treasure Judi Dench. She's more than her majestys answer to Meryl Streep across the pond. She's more than the British Intelligence this movie needs. She's an actor of great depth and distinction. Dignity and poise. And here under the worst pressure she honours any soldier, male or female who have ever had to make a literal not figurative life changing choice like this. Mirroring them perfectly, Mirren like a fly in the room, eye on them is mesmerizing. No wonder she was given the go ahead for this mission.

As were more accomplished actors. Just like B.B's Aaron Paul who is really getting good in this acting game...seriously good. You saw him bring more substance to the drug world, when he did more than just call it in for this years 'Triple 9' ensemble alongside the likes of Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson. But now behind the dial he faces a real emergency in the hotseat as the trigger man to all this droning on from the powers that be. Ready to make an opinion of a decision, but a literal long way from committing the very act themselves. Decisions made on the British Isles effect the Middle East all by way of the U.S state of Nevada. You can feel the weight of a new world on Paul's shoulders and he wears it on the souls of his eyes that control the skies. All the way through to the bulging veins on his forehead that almost become varicose. Matters of life and fatality have never been this stressed. Looking down at all though we do have some ground control thanks to the brilliant Barkhad Abdi who we last saw making his debut taking over captaincy of ships from Tom Hanks' 'Captain Phillips'. Look at him. Look at him! He's a real actor now. Abdi abides by a real and raw performance of measured soul that shows he is more than just a BAFTA winning one hit wonder or trick pony. Barkhad will attend another Oscars once again, mark these words...his name may just be in an Academy envelope too. But for what he's achieved in his legendary lifetime lets here it for Alan Rickman who commands his last performance from the chair with bold and beautiful confidence under confliction. Whether you know him as Hans Gruber or Snape, one of the greatest actors in great British history was more than just 'Harry Potter' and 'Die Hard'...and generally speaking this last role may be one of his best. The dearly departed is devoted to the cause here in tragically the last time we will see him on screen...although we will hear that iconically unmistakable voice through the looking glass one more time for this years 'Alice In Wonderland' sequel. Here though with the presence of grace and a mild mannered privacy of intensity, he has the last poignant word on just how real and raw war is even with the arms length advancements of technology. He also reaches to the only comic relief this forlorn film has over a toy baby doll like only this equally eccentric and eclectic man could. Here's to Rickman and for that and everything else he's done...thank you dear Alan. To the sky...always. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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