DRAMA; 1hr 42min
STARRING: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman
Eye spy: Mirren
For a successful military strike to take place, every link in its kill chain must be secure. In Tsotsi director Gavin Hood's neatly pieced cliffhanger, that computer-driven, drone-centric chain consists of — among sundry military and political others — a British colonel (an unmerciful Mirren as Katherine Powell), a general (the irreplaceable Rickman as veteran Frank Benson), a fresh-faced, Las Vegas–based drone pilot (Paul) and an undercover agent (Barkhad Abdi) on the ground in Nairobi, Kenya, where the capture mission will be taking place.
Its objective is the retrieval of two British and one American terrorist. But the high-gear surveillance, filmed from aerial and grass-roots perspectives, kicks into kill status when an imminent suicide bombing is uncovered, then hits a moral quagmire when a child appears in the target area. With time running out, conditions are already jittery. They're propelled into the red zone by the unpredictability of the outcome, the concise time frame in which it unfolds and, most of all, by the pivotal, unanswerable question of how much is too much when multiple lives are at stake.