The Curmudgeon


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Eye in the Sky

Gavin Hood 2015

In Gavin Hood's rather perfunctory alternate-world fantasy, a terrorist cell is discovered preparing a suicide bombing in a house in Kenya. Thanks to a flying robot beetle, the identities of the culprits are established beyond reasonable doubt, and they are all very high on the counter-terrorism wanted list. A drone strike seems to be called for, but is subjected to a Kafkaesque series of delays, partly because the British government is more worried about breaching international law than about displeasing the Americans, and partly because the drone operators have been zooming around a bit in their copious free time, and have seen some potential collateral damage playing with a hula hoop.

The credibility of these motivations is not helped by the fact that every single character on view is a walking cliché: from the no-nonsense colonel who has been tracking one of the terrorists for the past six years, to the straight-talking general impatient at political red tape, to the new junior minister who apparently has risen through the Westminster establishment on moral qualms, to the dead-eyed American flunkey spouting euphemistic jargon, to the obsessively arse-covering and in one case literally squeaky-buttocked minions of the British wog-bombing establishment, to the Good Africans, to the Bad Africans, to the humble military personnel who must do their emotionally taxing duty and then walk away with a tear in their eye at the price of sending the bad guys to Kingdom Come. Despite BAFTA-bait casting and acting, none of these characters approaches the complexity of the dialogue delivery ordnance in a Tarantino film.

Plot mechanics are efficient enough, but Eye in the Sky has all the depth and uncompromising realism of a newspaper report; and not necessarily the kind of report which, in another surreal touch, the film's politicians worry might lose them a by-election or two. That might well explain this eminently forgettable film's glittering reviews from the journalistic class, which tends to inhabit that same alternate reality: the one where terrorist bombings have no social or political background but where the regrettable errors of wealthy white people must always be indulged to the last nuance, and where the emotional indigestion of the wog-bombers is at least as valid and newsworthy as the sufferings of the bombed.


  • At 7:40 pm , Blogger Buck Theorem said...

    Well that's scathing. A failure to broach the subject, then.

  • At 8:25 pm , Blogger Philip said...

    There is literally nothing more to it than you can read in the newspaper. People do things; things get done; some of it's regrettable; there you go.


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