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Saturday, 7 May 2016


A rave from Buzzword Books author, Clinton Smith about what must be a crash-hot film.

There are many fine films but few work on all levels. For instance 24 HOURS with Charlotte Rampling is a searing insight into emotional betrayal but moves so slowly that the less perceptive become bored with it.

Most films in fact lose momentum about three quarters of the way through. There seems to be a screen Sargasso where the start of the implicit third act structure becomes predictable.

For a film to grab, it needs to work on many levels - progression, engagement, commercial interest, production values, authenticity are some. Few can sustain all these aspects but some do.

For instance, THE LIVES OF OTHERS, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. Earlier examples? MARATHON MAN. STRAW DOGS. A recent example? THE KING'S SPEECH. These are perfectly constructed and realized. They tick all boxes.

Which brings us to EYE IN THE SKY. This extraordinary effort is, in fact, a psychological drama based on the age-old philosophical dilemma of the means justifying the end. Namely, if you had to kill someone you know and care for to save six others, would you do it?

In this case, an entire government and military establishment intent on killing insurgents is brought to its knees by one small girl in Kenya who is busy selling bread for her mother in the street.

This brilliant set-up results in ever increasing tension through a series of impeccably realized and meticulously juxtaposed scenes that mine the misgivings of everyone involved. The cast, production values, writing, execution are faultless. And the end effect is shattering. Yet all is achieved without sacrificing entertainment value.

Perhaps there are political implications to the story. To my mind, these are subsidiary. The theme is the philosophic dilemma and this is masterly cinematic drama.

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