Drone Warfare: as told by Hollywood

This week, Kvitka and I volunteered for TIFF and were lucky enough to receive vouchers that allowed us to ‘rush’ films for free! We decided to experiment and try a film that neither of us really knew about, Eye in the Sky. Unknown to us, this film starred big name actors like Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, Aaron Paul, Iain Glen and many others. We arrived just as the film began and lucky us, we found the best seats in the theatre. We sat back to watch the film that we only knew as the ‘drone’ movie. Turns out it was so much more than that.

The basis of this film is to display a behind the scenes view of the decision making that happens with the use of drones and despite the the seriousness and sombre tone infused throughout the film, they managed to insert humour into it.

As political students who study international relations, law and ethics, this movie turned out to be more than perfect for our fields. We loved that the film portrayed the differing policies that the US and Britain had on drone warfare very accurately and humorously. The collaboration between the US, Britain and Kenya put everything that we study on a daily basis on the big screen.


The film captures the fact that despite policy makers are so far away from the zone in question, there many conflicting factors like public opinion, political pressures, moral and ethical questions which they need to answer and the pressure they face is extremely intense. ย It also shows how much pressure the pilots of the drones are under and while they need to follow orders, they truly are the ones who need to live with actually taking lives by pulling the trigger.

Lastly, the plotline was very creative in asking the moral/ethical quandary of the value of a child’s life versus the lives of many more people who might die. Kvitka and I really appreciated that this movie gave the policy makers faces and emotions because it was really startling to realize that contrary to media portrayals, these people have emotions, experience guilt and make the tough calls despite the public backlash they might face later. I especially liked the conclusion because there was no right answer and it left me horrified by the tragedy but knowing I’d have done the same in their positions.

Have you watched anY amazing films recently? We’d love some recommendations and please feel free to voice your opinions down below!


Until next time,


All photos taken from EYE IN THE SKY (imdb) at 
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2057392/ and TIFF website 

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