'Eye in the Sky' Film Review
'Eye in the Sky' is a movie that has the dilemmas of drone strikes as a main subject. It revolves around an operation in which three of the most wanted persons in the United States and United Kingdom's lists are reunited under a strategic point. And the attempts Colonel Katherine Powell and Lieutenant-General Frank Benson make on getting the governmental approval for a drone strike in that point. It also deals with the ways those attempts to strike are hampered by governmental chain of command decisions or the human morality of the drone pilots. It is not the intention of the film to portrait heroes or villains or to justify the pragmatic or humanistic ways the characters deal with the situation at hand. However, the film doesn't shy away from showing the true consequences and implications of taking said approaches and the decisions they imply.
The main character of the film is Colonel Katherine Powell. She is an interesting protagonist because she is a pragmatist. The main conflict in the film is how to deal with the drone strike she desperately wants to make happen. The reasons for this are that the three persons of interest in the strategic point are planning a suicide-vest terrorist strike in what is heavily speculated will be a public space. She wants the strike to happen immediately because the collateral damage of a drone strike in a public street will be far less dangerous than the collateral damage in a public space.
The hard pragmatism of Colonel Katherine Powell has human life as a basis, whatever scenario that costs less human lives, has to be the one implemented. However, the scenario complicates when a girl is in a position with a high percentage of suffering fatal injuries from the strike. As a response to this, the Colonel expresses the necessities to expand the rules of engagement in order to protect more civilian lives and tries to convince the sergeant in charge of the collateral damage projections to modify them in order to make the strike happen. It is interesting and uncommon to portray a character that speaks in such a calculating way about sacrificing the life of a child in order to save hundreds more in a way that is not inherently unsympathetic. 'Eye in the Sky' always puts us in the headspace of Colonel Katherine Powell in order to understand her decisions without justifying them.
It would be easy for a film with this subject matter to make easy distinctions between the right or wrong way to deal with drone strikes, however, 'Eye in the Sky' doesn't go that route. Colonel Katherine Powell's humanity and work ethics are in conflict for most of the movie, but it is always clear that both exist and that both are in action in her decision making. In fact, the humanity in the Colonel's conscience is the main reason for her pragmatic decisions. In her eyes, whatever decision that saves the most human lives, because …