Col. Katherine Powell, a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, sees her mission escalate when a girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare.
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 (Aaron Paul) 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.Written by
Not so long ago, all 'war movies' consisted of armies of infantry storming one beach/desert/jungle (delete as applicable). And, to be fair, there was little else that happened in a war. However, in today's high-tech times, 'war' can be fought from the 'comfort' of our own homes (okay, military bases, but how long before our soldiers are allowed to work from home?!). The story here goes that Britain has finally got the intel on a handful of its most wanted terrorists who are amassing in a house in a suburban African district. Should they just use an American-based 'drone' to wipe them out, or is the civilian casualty rate going to be too high? Helen Mirren thinks the former.
The cast boasts Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul on the cast list (and, of course the last performance of Alan Rickman), but it's Mirren who steals the show. She seems to revel in playing the British colonel who is willing to 'take out' the extremists at all costs. Aaron Paul isn't in it as much as some people may hope, but does well with what he's given (which is basically spending the whole film sitting in a chair!). Alan Rickman is as awesome as ever and it's a shame we've lost him too early. Plus we do see what's happening 'on the ground' as it were and the film's unsung hero is a Somalian operative who seems to give a performance filled with more heart and feeling without uttering a word of English than most English-speaking actors.
If you're hoping for an action-packed blast-a-thon of a movie then you'll be very disappointed here. Like I say, it's a war movie of our time. Some people may say that this is a fault, but basically the whole movie is people sitting around in offices debating the ethics of using technology in this way. The film is basically an 'ethics piece' which debates both sides of the argument. I have no problem with films like this, as long as they remain – reasonably – neutral and do their best to put both sides of the argument across. This one does this pretty well, however it does tend to lean towards 'nuking the site from obit' (ala Ellen Ripley) simply because its bigger stars seems to share the same opinion. However, there are plenty of moments where both sides of the argument make good points to support their opposing views.
This film won't be for everyone. Like I say, you have to be in the mood for something which is slow (but without being boring) and filled with messages (without being preachy). It does show how 'war' has evolved to a PR machine as much as something that is simply fought using a bigger army than your opponent. If you're up for something a little more thought-provoking then definitely give this one a go.
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