A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Eye in the Sky is a tense, thought-provoking film about the hours leading up to a military drone strike -- and the intricate, gut-wrenching process (and complex, difficult moral choices) that goes into deciding whether and when to attack. Starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, and Alan Rickman, it's an intense movie to watch, and younger viewers may find it overwhelming and upsetting. Expect explosions and their aftermath (some burned bodies/body parts are shown), as well as scenes showing terrorists preparing for an attack and military men threatening and shooting enemies. There's also occasional strong language, including "f--k."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A British general (Alan Rickman, in his final role) and colonel (Helen Mirren) are on the hunt for an Englishwoman who's joined a militant terrorist group in Kenya. Using on-the-ground operatives and drones, they're able to track her and her accomplices to a house in Nairobi. The Americans want her and her cohorts captured, too; they're also on the U.S.A.'s hit list. As both countries work feverishly behind the scenes to coordinate a drone attack, the American pilot (Aaron Paul) and co-pilot tasked with controlling the weapons spot a young Kenyan girl (Aisha Takow) selling bread in the kill zone. Should they shoot?
Is it any good?
Taut, tense, and tightly paced, EYE IN THE SKY is a disciplined and illuminating examination of what military officials and news organizations often refer to as "collateral damage." But instead of miring the film in overwrought plots and death-defying CGI-riddled stunts, the filmmakers take a concept -- drone warfare in terrorist strongholds -- and bring it to the human level by filtering it through the eyes of the military and high-level government officials who must tussle with international relations and local politics to arrive at decisions that result in taking human lives.
Equally important are the experiences of the soldiers who actually pull the trigger and the civilians caught between insurgents and those trying to stop them. Rickman, who died before the film was released, reminds us why he'll be so missed, while Mirren and Paul, as the British colonel and the American pilot tasked with controlling the drone, go toe-to-toe in what's essentially a master class in finely tuned acting.
Talk to your kids about ...
What does the movie have to say about the use of drones in war? Is it for or against them? What complicates the issue? How does the film address the human cost of war?
How does the film depict the high-level decisions being made about drone strikes? What did you learn that you didn't know before? How do politics and public relations influence decisions like the ones made here?
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