April 9, 2016

‘Eye in the Sky’ … laws of war

This film is another look into the complexities of contemporary warfare and drone strikes. Last year came ‘Good Kill’ and we examined that film from different angles.

‘Eye in the Sky’ is very compelling. The great cast is led by Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul and the late Alan Rickman. The protagonists and antagonists all deal with complex issues of the remote controlled video game-like warfare that has now become the commonplace life of real warfare.

This film 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 keep track via drone video of the opportunity to target enemies in a house that is half way around the world. The politicos and military allies view the stark reality of the vulnerability of an innocent child innocently selling bread outside the house where she lives. Inside the house, the situation is juxtaposed with suicide bombers who are 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 as 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 is the winner of the public hearts and minds is dependent 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.

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