At the flick f itch
Eye In The Sky focuses on military waging wars through unmanned strikes.
AS explored in the new political thriller Eye In The Sky, drone warfare is one of the most hotly debated issues in the modern geopolitical landscape.
The film depicts an international mission to take out a terrorist in South Africa with a drone strike that becomes complicated when a child wanders into the strike zone, and the commanders must decide whether the collateral damage is worth it to acquire the target.
Eye In The Sky presents all sides fairly even- handedly, and at its New York premiere – held at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square with an after- party at the nearby Parkview Lounge – Helen Mirren, who stars as a military intelligence officer who advocates for the strike to go forward, said that even after making the film, she doesn’t necessarily take any one particular viewpoint.
“My opinion didn’t really change. I’m more educated; I’m more knowledgeable,” she said. “I didn’t really have an opinion before, and I don’t particularly have an opinion now, but certainly I have more education.”
Director Gavin Hood, who tends to split his time between big- budget franchise fare such as X- Men Origins: Wolverine ( 2009) and Ender’s Game ( 2013) and indie films such as Tsotsi ( 2005) and Rendition ( 2007), told Variety he didn’t know much more about drones than what he read in the newspapers, but became obsessed with the topic after he read Guy Hibbert’s script.
“It left me with a lot of questions, and I wanted to talk to somebody after reading it, and there was nobody to talk to because I just finished the script. So what do you do? I dived into the Internet,” Hood said.
“I started researching, and I called friends who had friends in the military, and before I knew it, I was deep down a rabbit hole of meeting people in the defense industry, the military, and legal organisations both for and against drone warfare, and I just soaked it all in for a month before I approached the producers, who were looking for a director.”
If that research led Hood to come down conclusively on the issue one way or another, it’s not apparent from the final product.
“I think what Guy’s script does s so well, and what I hope the movie does well, is to give the audience a good thriller,” he said, “and not inn any way preach or tell them wha at to think, but give them a good de eal to think about.”
Hood’s hard work paid off, according to Aaron Paul, who pla ays an American drone pilot. “He’s such a perfectionist. He had done e endless amounts of research. I ju ust imagine him, late night, at a libra ary on his 17th cup of coffee, so I just t constantly picked his brain, because he seemed to always hav ve the answers to my questions,” sa id Paul, who also spent time with a real- life drone pilot to get into thee role.
“99.999% of the time, these pilo ots are just surveillance in the sky, they’re just the eye. This particul ar situation that we are dealing with h in this film, it’s a little bit of a dif- ferent story.”
This is one of two films Paul has out at the moment ( the otherr is John Hillcoat’s Triple 9), and Paul also has the new Hulu series The Path and a new season of the Netflix cartoon BoJack Horseman on the horizon.
It’s a steep workload, which is just how he likes it.
“I’m addicted to work. I feel so blessed to do what I do, so I’m just going to keep doing it until they beg me to stop,” Paul said. “Busy is good.”
During his introduction to the film, Hood brought onstage Mirren ( who yelled at him from the audience to stand in the spot- light so people could see him) to say a few words about her friend d, the late Alan Rickman, who also played a general in the film.
“I’m very moved that it is his la ast film, because the person on the screen, as you will see, is Alan. It’ ’ s not Alan playing one of his wond derful character roles. He’s brilliant in this film, but it is Alan as he was as a person. Witty, urbane, intelligen nt, human,” Mirren said.
“I think if Alan was sitting here e tonight he, like me, would have been very, very proud to have be een a part of it.” – Reuters
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( Top) rickman, in his last role; he plays a general in the film. — Gsc Movies co- stars Paul ( left) and Mirren are very proud of the film that debates drone warfare. — AFP