Friday, January 27, 2017


Directed By: Gavin Hood 
Written By: Guy Hibbert 
Cinematography By: Haris Zambarloukos 
Editor: Megan Gill 

Cast: Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi, Phoebe Fox, Iain Glen, Michael O’Keefe, Jessica Jones, Faisa Hassan 

Colonel Katherine Powell is a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya. Through remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Powell discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from "capture" to "kill." But as American pilot Steve Watts is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute, reaching the highest levels of US and British government, over the moral, political, and personal implications of modern warfare.

The film is a modern moral lesson that asks what or who we are willing to sacrifice for the greater good and safety of others. We watch characters go through conflict. Putting on brace faces while braking down. Later knowing decisions not only have to be made, but will most likely happen again and again.

This is one of those films that makes a powerful impact. As you never saw it coming. You expect some feel good film that plays with political moral melodrama, it has a happy ending for most involved that allows us all to have faith and the characters to sleep at night.

This is also a kind of comeback for director Gavin Hood who directed the excellent South African Drama TSOTSI. Who seemed to lose his way with certain Hollywood films such as X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE

This film has a hard edge that doesn't really start to show itself until the third act.

The film seems to be not so much based on a true story, but own that could easily happen in today's political climate.

The whole cast excels as they aren't monsters but you can feel the tactical and emotions behind every decision and order. Even while trying every way around for a different order.

The film also keeps you on the edge of your seat as many times. Even as we know the risks involved. We are witness to the tightrope walk of infiltration going through the information and trying to have as few innocent bystander casualties, it also the importance of these missions and getting the culprits that they seek.

The film surprisingly also let's us see why some normal citizens of a third world country. Isn't aid or even become terrorist themselves. As most are of the citizens of the town are presented as hardworking and innocent people, it how they can be radicalized through political belief or even finances.

The film seems designed to shock the audience with a cynical callousness of how easily an assignation can be approved. This film doesn't tell the audience anything it doesn't know already, but really puts the audience through the ringer to see how decisions are made and how delicate these situations are. As things must get done within a certain amount of time with only certain information and within a tight time period. Where as really the film is only shocking if you are already not jaded by warfare that exists. As this film hits home decisions must be made.

The film tries to show you all the sides focusing on both the government. Who makes the decisions, those who plan it, those in the field who. Ring the information and those who must carry it out practically pull the trigger. Everybody has. Look on their hands and there are guaranteed to be victims as acceptable loss.

Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman seem determined at all costs to make this mission successful. No matter who or what gets in their way. As many around them try, deter and hope for the best to complete mission.

This was unfortunately Alan Rickman’s last role and while not necessarily a lead. He makes his presence felt and his last performance is a strong one and the last film he appears in is rather strong. Even as it plays on the heartstrings a little too often.

The whole cast is great and feels like something of a surprise at how gripping it can be. That is similar to the Helen Mirren starring thriller THE DEBT

Grade: B

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