What’s the value of a life? What if saving that one life puts untold numbers at risk? These are the questions that come up in Eye in the Sky when, in the middle of a covert international mission to capture terrorists, the terrorists are revealed to have suicide vests. The mission is upgraded to a “kill” mission, but it’s complicated by the potential fallout: a young Kenyan girl is inside the blast radius, and harming or even killing her could result in an international scandal.
Eye in the Sky doesn’t offer easy answers. Instead, different sides to which decision to make are argued effectively, making it clear that each option has very real downsides. The arguments are uniformly conveyed by a talented cast, led by Helen Mirren as the British colonel in charge of the mission, Aaron Paul as the drone pilot responsible for the actual launch, and Barkhad Abdi as an on-the-ground spy who tries to neutralize the situation. The late Alan Rickman, though, gets the film’s most successful scenes, as he delivers his scenes with a dark, detached sense of humor, leading up to a brutal end note.