Americans Cry, Brits Dither, Africans Die
1 and 1/2 stars
There are terrorists in a home preparing two suicide bombers and the American and British military joint operation is spying into the preparation. They have missiles to bomb the place but... The movie is so clunky in dealing with the crisis that shows up in the form of a little girl that we groan at the Americans weeping and the Brits dithering over the decision...The end is so predictable you hate the idea of Alan Rickman's last film to be this one.
To bomb or not to bomb is the question the American and British joint military operation needs to answer. The fly in their ointment is a little girl selling bread right next to the wall behind which there are identified international terrorists outfitting two recruits with bomb vests. They have Hellfire missiles ready to be fired.
Except, the American soldiers (one man and the other a woman) operating the missile armed drone and its camera are weeping so much they give Nirupa Roy serious competition.
While the Americans weep over the possible fate of a little girl, the British are talking. And talking. And talking some more. You feel like Alan Rickman - exasperated - at listening to politicians quibble about rules of engagement, how there is no precedent, how decisions should be 'referred up', why military decisions are no bigger than political decisions... You want to tie them in an unceremonious bunch and put them all in a room next to where the Hellfire missiles are going to land.
The more you look at the movie, the more you realise that the nature of war has changed so much, laws may be inadequate to accomodate situations that presence of drones and long distance warfare can bring to the viewing galleries where politicians and generals can watch the results in real time.
So the arguments the politicians make are valid and up to a point tense, and interesting movie moments. But like all Bollywood movies which show politicians or civil servants choosing to cover their backsides first, this movie too falls prey to the obviousness of the moments. You can actually hear people groan because the arguments go round and round in the same place.
You can see the end coming from a mile away. But the milk of human kindness inside you has dried up, and although your heart wells up, you wish Helen Mirren, the helpless Colonel in charge of the operation would just forget legalities and press the 'send' button herself. This could have been a great war movie, but isn't. And the weepy soldiers make you want to slap them real hard.
The one star goes to Alan Rickman who elevates the movie with one dialog: Don't dare tell a soldier he does not understand the cost of war.