Tag: terrorists

Eye in the Sky

May 2nd, 2016 — 7:32pm

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.55.01 AM*****

Eye in the Sky-rm

Not since the Hurt Locker have we seen a film, which provides a deep emotional insight into an aspect of modern warfare in which the United States is involved. In this case it is a U.S. drone pilot ( Aaron Paul) working with Colonel (Helen Mirren) and a British Lieutenant General (Alan Rickman) across the pond, who are about to direct a drone missile strike at a group of terrorists who are strapping on explosives for a planned suicide bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. Collateral damage must be taken into account and high-level government officials in both countries are asked to weigh in on this process. What is the right thing to do? It becomes clear that firing this missile could be an extremely important event in the war against terrorism by eliminating one of the major leaders as well as saving many innocent lives from the impending terrorist attack. All of this might depend on whether a  nine-year-old girl is able to sell all her baked bread and thus leave the street outside of where the terrorists are located.

We know that modern warfare has changed forever when the commanding pilot of a strike airplane is actually taking his or her eight-hour shift in the pilot’s seat in a shed in Texas where the sophisticated controls and video screens are set up to fly a drone thousands of miles away, which is locked and loaded with deadly missiles. On top of all this, we learn that smaller drones in the form of little birds can be flown to hover over a target to get more intelligence and they can even be in the form of flying insects which can be dispersed to get a closer look. This is no longer science fiction but it is a story that could be ripped from today’s headlines.

As this film unfolds, the viewers are challenged to decide whether they would pull the trigger to kill an innocent child, who we have come to know and see, in order to save many other adults and children in the near future. Also we have to consider the propaganda implications if we kill one civilian versus if the terrorists kill many  civilians. These are the choices to be made.

When our military men and women make these types of decisions they are often doing them based on what they have experienced in real combat zones. The late Alan Rickman, in his last role, playing the veteran lieutenant general delivers a line which we believe will live on in movie history as he tells a well-meaning woman politician, “Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war.”

We are sure that Director Gavin Hood (who gave himself a small part in the film) had a very large budget for this film, which he put to good use. There are realistic special effects and we felt we were side by side with the struggles that are made by modern-day warriors. The film is carefully constructed, enlightening and thought-provoking . It will take you on an emotional roller coaster and is well worth seeing. (2016)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Action, Drama, War

The Gatekeepers

February 17th, 2013 — 9:31pm


The Gatekeepers-rmgatekeepers-poster

This film by Director Dror Moreh is one of five films featured documentaries  nominated for an Oscar in 2012.  It is mostly talking heads interviews with the last 6 Directors of the Shin Bet which is the secret Israeli security agency and has a motto, Defender that shall not be seen. This is a highly secret agency in which only the names of the leaders are known. As we initially watched this film unfold it seemed that it might be a propaganda piece to support Israel’s actions in regard to the Palestinians. To the contrary, it turned out to be a serious but insightful  discussion of the seemingly endless and at times hopeless conflict between the Israel government and the discontented Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. Each of the subjects of the film were past Directors of Shin Bet and had the responsibility for the internal security of Israel. They made life and death decisions, developed highly sophisticated and intricate data gathering operations through human resources and high tech equipment. Once it became clear the Palestinians were conducting deadly terrorists activities heralded by blowing up a bus and killing numerous innocent people, Shin Bet conducted thousands of heavy duty interrogations and carried out assassinations of known Arab terrorists. The film showed via a camera in the sky, following a vehicle known to contain a confirmed important terrorist leader and possibly some other people. The decision process and ultimately the dropping of a bomb on that vehicle was shown from the aerial view. Another story that was told was the successful murder of a notorious terrorist by the use of a cell phone with an explosive device in it. Footage was also shown of the incident where Shin Bet captured Israeli right wing fanatics who were intent on blowing up the Temple on the Mount (the main point of Arab worship in Jerusalem) after being encouraged by some orthodox rabbis. The complicated Israeli politics were demonstrated as many of these people were ultimately released without punishment. On the other hand, the persistent desire of the Palestinians to make Israel suffer was clearly shown and the absence of any desire by them to accept the existence of Israel is well known. The one man who might have stood a chance of somehow forging a solution to this seemingly unsolvable dilemma, Yitzak Rabin, was himself assassinated by a right wing Israeli much to the dismay of Shin Bet who had the responsibility of protecting Rabin. The most surprising message that we gleamed from this fascinating film is that just about each of these patriotic leaders of Shin Bet seemed to feel that no matter what the terrorists continue to do, the Israeli government should continue to try to talk to their leaders. They seem to say this at the same time, as it is clear that the next series of Shin Bet leaders will carry out their tasks with dedication and at time deadly precision. We have no idea how director Dror Moreh convinced these men of secrets to share their experience and views but the result is an unusual and revealing documentary film. (2012)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Documentary, Foreign

Zero Dark Thirty

January 8th, 2013 — 11:44pm


Zero Dark ThirtyZero Dark thiry

The last time Director Katherine Bigelow and Screenwriter Mark Boal collaborated they made the Hurt Locker which was one of the finest war  films we have ever seen. Since the subject matter this time was the story of the tracking down and killing of Osama ben Laden, it seemed like a natural for them to duplicate their great work.  They ended up doing a very good  job but in our opinion it wasn’t a “repeat”. They initially tug on our emotions by starting the film with frantic phone calls coming from the doomed World Trade Center on 9/11. We then are exposed to the United States  waterboarding suspects who might lead us to Osama ben Laden. This element while uncomfortable to watch, may not be telling the complete story in regard to how key this was to what was to come. The film centers around Maya (Jessica Chastain) a CIA agent who doggedly persists when all the other CIA honchos have their doubts including Leon Panetta CIA director (James Gandelfini)  We are told in the credits that she is a real person who can’t be identified since she is still an active agent. It is too bad that we couldn’t know anything substantial about her other than to watch her determination  despite no one believing her. Nevertheless Ms Chastain carries the film with her riveting portrayal of this American heroine. There also was a great deal of mumbo jumbo on the radio, agents talking back and forth, numerous Arab names mentioned as suspects or people who might have known people. You were never really given enough information to appreciate who they were and what role they played. We also never really get to know the numerous CIA agents, Bureau Chiefs, operatives or whatever. Even the Navy Seal team stays a team and they all blend together in their military fatigues and being viewed through night vision goggles. We will admit that the 2 hours and 40 minutes did go by quite quickly and it was exciting to watch the attack on the compound. It was quite authentic and you felt and thought you were there.  If the real Maya ever writes a memoir, we will be sure to read it and get to know what she was really like and how she brought about the slaying of this dragon. (2012)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Action, Drama, History

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