By Bonnie Anderson and Dan Webster
This film is another look into the complexities of contemporary warfare and drone strikes. Last year came ‘Good Kill’ and we examined it from different angles.
‘Eye in the Sky’ is very compelling. A great cast—led by Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul and the late Alan Rickman—has protagonists and antagonists all dealing with complex issues of the remote controlled video game-like warfare that has now become commonplace in real life
This is not only a taut thriller it’s a thought thriller. The film hinges on a moral choice to be made by the powerful war intelligence of allies, as they watch drone video of the opportunity to target enemies in a house half way around the world. They view the stark reality of the vulnerability of an innocent child as the situation is juxtaposed with suicide bombers being outfitted and prepared to enact a mission in a locally populated area. Helen Mirren is tough as the “military high up” with a mind on singleness of mission.
You may find yourself as one of the characters taking one side or another about whether to engage, to launch a missile, or not. It’s reminiscent of the classic film ’12 Angry Men’ from 1957. What appears a slam dunk decision for some is more nuanced and less clear for others.
There’s a fascinating examination of the public relations and political implications of prosecuting a war against terrorists. Who wins public hearts and minds depends upon the outcome of this mission.
Moral theologians and ethicists will have a field day with this film. It takes the “just war theory” to a whole new level of examination.
One of us came away wondering, WUAVWJF (What Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Would Jesus Fly)? The other one of us thought the worst casualty of war is war itself. How very sad it is that we are so far from completing our own mission as people of faith – bringing about the reconciliation of the world where we all live together in peace.
“In war, truth is the first casualty.” – Aeschylus (525 BC – 456 BC) Opening on-screen quote
Bonnie Anderson is a very active lay leader in her parish, diocese and in the wider Episcopal Church. She is an experienced community organizer and lives in suburban Detroit. Dan Webster is an Episcopal priest in Baltimore, Maryland and a former broadcast news executive. But don’t expect only east coast urban perspectives here. As it turns out, they both grew up in Southern California. They blog about films and faith at Faith Reels