(Andrew Niccol, 2014)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: 'Good Kill' is an intelligent meditation on the horrors of war viewed from a cold distance. Ethan Hawke is brilliant.
While there have been countless war films that show the horrors of war close-up, on a ground level, few have had the critical mind to view conflict from a cold distance such as the one depicted in 'Good Kill'.
Andrew Niccol's film follows Tom Egan, a drone pilot, who starts to question his role in the war - quietly taking out apparent terrorists from a military shack in Las Vegas.
Dedicated and stern, Egan is a family man but perhaps his true calling is to be a fighter pilot and yet he finds himself flying drones while his family reside in a nice home just a few miles away. Maybe it's too safe or impersonal for him. Niccol's film doesn't paint characters in black and white so we often have to assume in 'Good Kill'.
While Ethan Hawke is brilliant as the drone pilot who begins to question his work, the film is bigger than its characters. It's a comment on military action in a digital age and how distance is the new weapon.
'Good Kill' ponders if America's strikes from the sky are akin to terrorism against their enemy. It asks what makes a kill for "good" and how the juxtaposition between an area of conflict and a life back home displaces its nation's warriors. 'Good Kill' may well emerge as one of the most important war films of its generation.