I thought this a humdinger. I can't recall the last time I was so gripped from within the first few minutes of a film which holds itself taut with tension right up to the final climax.
It concerns a joint British-American attempt, played out in continuous time, to eliminate by armed drone three leading members of an Al-Shabab terrorist group in Kenya who, it is discovered, are about to set in train two suicide bombings intended to kill many civilians.
Helen Mirren is the British colonel in charge of operations in London, watching events in Kenya through miniature cameras, some mobile, where a terrorist meeting is being held in an otherwise ordinary simple native house. Also watching is a group of British government officials in the Home Counties, presided over by Lieutenant-General Alan Rickman (in, sadly, his final film), as well as American army personnel in the U.S.A., including the one, Aaron Paul, who is ultimately charged with pressing the trigger.
In Kenya on the ground the 'spy' of the allies is Barkhad Abdi (picured) whom we saw recently as the totally believable terrorist hijacking chief in 'Captain Philips', and here he gives another strong performance.
What I particularly liked about this film was its simplicity. With no technical terms calculated to bamboozle one, it's a straightforward human story of a dilemma posed when what would otherwise have been an unequivocal decision to attack is foiled by an accidental innocent player on the ground. Decisions must needs be made, weighing up consequences of, in this case, one unintended casualty as against the probability of a much larger number of fatalities if the opportunity is not taken. Opinions differ and much buck-passing goes on while the chances of carrying out the attack at all are diminishing by the minute.Terrific nail-biting stuff. I was completely enthralled right to the end.
Director Gavin Hood couldn't have raised the tensions any higher. The audience I was with was, like me, completely hooked.
This superior film has a very high likelihood of appearing in my Top Ten of the year, and I heartily recommend it...................8.
4 hours ago