UK and US armies are co-operating in drone surveillance of suspected Al-Shabab terrorists in Kenya. When it seems that an attack is imminent, the decision needs to be made whether or not to make a pre-emptive drone strike.
Yes, it’s taut and on-the-edge of your seat. But it also feels a little bit like a simulation game in Ethics 101, with the ethical dilemmas being racheted up, bit by bit. At first I was sceptical, thinking that there wouldn’t be any question that the attack would be made ( a feeling reinforced by seeing the attack on the Pakistani playground on tonight’s news). But then the film reminded me of the propaganda value of YouTube videos of a drone attack, like those released by Edward Snowden, and the challenge made to unthinking obedience when the military environment is more reliant on computer experts than grunts laden with weaponry.
A film about a Kenyan terrorist attack is all a bit close to the bone for me, given my son’s presence there, but I reassured myself that it wasn’t really filmed in Kenya but in South Africa- and I’m very proud that I deduced that myself from minor infelicities in the film (the airport; the lines on the tarmacced road; too few people in the market).
Nonetheless, a solid 4/5 for me although I did come out feeling exhausted and as if I’d been coerced into participating in a very unpleasant hypothetical exercise.