The summer season usually brings no shortage of well-advertised, crowd-pleasing choices at the local movie theater. But having three young kids means I’m much more likely to scan what’s available for rent than check out current show times. In this case, it meant that I came across “Eye in the Sky,” a film released on video a few weeks ago that I might otherwise have overlooked. On a basic level, it’s a tightly executed thriller that steadily increases the dramatic tension for the viewer. But focusing as it does on the role of drones in the global conflict against terrorism, “Eye in the Sky” also proves to be a timely, thought-provoking, and surprisingly human film. I think most will find it well worth the watch.
Here’s a few (spoiler free) reasons for my recommendation:
It acknowledges that the world is not the way it’s supposed to be.
There are no grand pronouncements, no sustained lectures, but I’d argue that Eye in the Sky tacitly acknowledges two important realities: (1) evil certainly exists, and (2) those seeking to do good should oppose it. This provides the foundation of the next point.
It acknowledges the very real difficulty of making the right ethical choices in opposing evil.
We’re sadly familiar with the death, injury, fear, and grief caused by those who perpetrate terror. But there is another awful consequence we may overlook: those who would oppose terrorism may face significant temptation and, ultimately, terrible choices. What lengths are we to go to protect innocent life? The answers are not easy (one particular exchange between a civilian official and military officer toward the end of the film captures this very well). “Eye in the Sky” demonstrates this without taking sides. And even if you as a viewer feel one choice or another must clearly be made, my guess is that you’ll also feel the weight of its potential consequences.
It acknowledges the value of human life.
Many movies ring more true to video games than reality when it comes to portraying the value of human life. This is not one of them. In fact, it is precisely the high value placed on human lives that makes the choices so difficult and the film so compelling.
It acknowledges human limitations—and that’s a good thing.
Who has the integrity, the courage, the wisdom, the perspective, the steadfastness to make the right choices on a consistent basis when dealing with challenges like those presented in the movie? Who can ensure true justice? Who can rescue those who need rescuing? I confess that, at the conclusion of the film, I had a strong sense of helplessness regarding those questions. And in the end, that’s a good thing. Because that helplessness is a reminder that, as fallen people who live in a fallen world, we are not bigger than our problems. We are not capable of making everything okay with the merely human resources at our disposal. Not that it was the intention of the filmmakers, but “Eye in the Sky” is a reminder that we all desperately need someone to save us. And for that, at least, there is good news.
“Eye in the Sky” is rated R for violent images and language. You can find more information about the film here.