RTÉ are showing one of the best films about modern warfare from the last decade
95% on Rotten Tomatoes for this wonderful film.
With a host of great films on TV later - Reservoir Dogs, LA Confidential, and Don't Breathe being the pick of the bunch - it's shaping up to be a good night on the couch but for anyone that likes good war, there's one title that stands out.
In Platoon, we're frequently told that the first casualty of war is innocence. Truth be told, this has been a strong theme that's prevalent throughout a lot of war films. For example, Full Metal Jacket showed us what's required to strip away the humanity of a soldier. Degradation, insults, military drills and constant repetition. It's enough to drive anyone insane and in the case of Private Pyle, it did.
You could argue that Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now is the logical extension of that process. Independent thought and humanity aren't things easily afforded to soldiers that are on the frontline, but the morality of war has always been an issue that's fascinated Hollywood, and on that note, Eye in the Sky is arguably the finest film of the modern era to tackle that subject.
Tense, thoughtful and absolutely thrilling, Gavin Hood's film will have you questioning your own moral standpoint for days.
Clip via Bleecker Street
Ok, what's it about?
Eye in the Sky follows Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren), a UK-based military officer that's in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya.
Using remote surveillance and on-the-ground intelligence, Powell discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from "capture" to "kill". But as American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year-old girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute, reaching the highest levels of American and British government, over the moral, political and personal implications of modern military operations.
Truth be told, while the traditional war film might be more focused with the 'boots on the ground' approach, this is far more accurate because it's dealing with the terrifying prospect of death from above.
From the perspective of a soldier, Eye in the Sky asks some very heavy questions. By not being able to see the whites of your enemies' eyes, is killing made any easier? Can your morality stay intact? Can you justify killing one innocent person to potentially save thousands of lives? Can innocence prevail in a time of warfare?
If you're curious for an answer to these questions, we highly recommend Eye in the Sky. These critics agree.
The Observer - "A provocatively tense thriller that negotiates the moral minefields of its thorny subject matter in crowd-pleasing fashion."
Empire - "It's a tight thriller played out smoothly but tying the viewer in moral knots. A film to think about for days, with little hope of finding a comfortable answer."
Washington Post - "This is the rare military drama that conveys both the graphic physical effects of war and its lingering psychic cost."
The Times - "A tense, morally complex and extremely prescient thriller."
New York Post -"Director Gavin Hood pulls off some really tricky tonal shifts. He's abetted by a terrific cast, including Barkhad Abdi as a surveillance expert who tries to save the girl -- and Rickman in his final on-screen appearance, one of his very best."
Eye in the Sky airs on RTÉ 2 at 9.40pm.