Succeeds not only as a surprisingly entertaining thriller - one that actually thrills - but its handling of a large ensemble cast who presumably never met on a set is both deft and pacey: the characters have space to breathe - even if we don't - and its depiction of a transplanetary game of Pass the Buck allows for moments of wit and satire, as well as tragedy and spinning moral compasses. A good script, well made.
By keeping the action focused on one possible military air strike that involves a joint action between three countries, Guy Hibbert's script and Gavin Hood's direction succeed in examining drone warfare where many films have failed. The immediacy of action and the suspense generated is well appreciated as are the performances by leads Mirren, Paul and Rickman. Also of note a supporting turn by Phoebe Fox.
A damning indictment on omniscient Western interventionism (aka. drone strikes) whose rhetoric regarding 'minimizing collateral damage' as some form of humanitarian piety in pursuit of the 'lesser of two evils', is cogently countered with this gripping and polemical piece. A solid collaborative effort by all involved.
Really was unprepared for how taut this was going to be. Alan Rickman leaves us with a final performance actors dream of having, a rich and assured performance capable of many readings inside a layered and contemplative film that couldn't be more contemporary if it tried. The film's structure subtly but firmly has the audience come to their own decision in what is ultimately one with fatal consequences regardless.
Hood's effort in building our tension only by indoor scenes alone is something that not too many filmmakers can do. Who knew the act to decide to attack or not to attack itself is enough to keep the audience on the edge of their seat the whole time. The difference in approaching the subject between USA and Great Britain is also hilarious. I'm so relief that I'm not a politician.