Film Friday: Eye in the Sky

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Eye in the Sky tells the complex story of the decision to make a drone attack on a group of terrorists in Kenya. Initially intending to capture three of the most wanted terrorists in East Africa the situation quickly escalates into the need to destroy them. It’s a rare opportunity and Colonel Katherine Powell is intent on making the most of the situation, however, there is the serious danger of innocent bystanders being killed or injured.

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The situation becomes a battle of wills, no one wants to see local people get killed. But Colonel Powell has been chasing these terrorists for years and this is a chance to stop them from killing others once and for all. This is warfare from a distance. The enemy are viewed on large screens, like characters in a computer game. Cameras in the shape of beetles fly around controlled by consoles which look for all the world like handheld game consoles. Silent, life-purging explosions are viewed on screen from afar. However, no one is taking this lightly, and when accused of doing so one officer replies, ‘Never tell a soldier he does not know the cost of war.’ This is the kind of film which leaves you with much to chew on afterwards.

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One of the surprises about the Old Testament is the amount of war encountered on its pages. The New Testament is all about Jesus, and his life transforming, life challenging presence. But the Old Testament sometimes feels like a dangerous minefield, littered with killing and callous actions. The people faced tough decisions, sometimes getting it right, sometimes wrong. However, there is much reality in that, life was full of conflict then, as it is full of conflict now, complex then as now, and God is with us in all aspects of life, not just in the rosy, peaceful places. Jesus himself was born into a country ravaged by invasion and uprising, the Son of Man making his home amongst the victims and the perpetrators of war. I recently came across the account of a soldier, on the front line in the First World War; with much time on his hands he came to the conclusion that he regularly felt the presence of God, close by, near his shoulder. Right there in that place of killing, explosions, rats and torment. One of the most profound things about Christianity is that we have a God who is not afraid of the dark. ‘Where can I go to escape your presence,’ says the writer of Psalm 139, ‘even in the dark places you are with me.’

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