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Eye In The Sky by Paul Hepker & Mark Kilian

posted Mar 11, 2016, 4:12 PM by Kaya Savas

Eye In The Sky immediately brings to mind Andrew Niccol’s similar drone-centered thriller, Good Kill. While Good Kill was more focused on the psychological effect of drone warfare on the drone pilots, Eye In The Sky is intent on creating a suspenseful thriller surrounding a singular event. Gavin Hood is able to reunite with his go-to composer Paul Hepker who scored Tsotsi and Rendition for Hood. Hood was forced to use some Hollywood heavyweight composers for his X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Ender’s Game ventures. Joining Hepker as a co-composer is the always versatile Mark Kilian who has built a relationship with Hepker as his orchestrator in the past. The score is pure atmospheric tension in the best sense.

Eye In The Sky is intent on creating tension and suspense while upping the psychological tole the situation takes on the characters involved. The score is tightly structured with electronic textures to craft precision. Orchestral accents with strings add more of the emotional states of the characters, and combined we get a very effective war thriller. The pockets of ambience, while necessary to keep the structure together, do create lulls in the narrative. I understand that it’s impossible to keep the tension up at a certain level throughout the whole story, but I think in those moments some more melodic arcs and thematic work would have been interesting to see. I do find it refreshing that the score doesn’t jump to any modern warfare cliches with overly ethnic instrumentation and rhythmic percussion, and in the end it does a fine job of wrapping up on an emotional note.

Eye In The Sky is an impressively structured war thriller, and Hepker and Kilian do a wonderful job of balancing narrative suspense and moral dilemmas. While the ambient approach doesn’t keep the energy moving forward at times, it’s still an engrossing score overall that gets the job done. This is a score meant to be in sync with the edit, and when all the ingredients are in the pot it becomes a great journey.