US Air Force Drone pilot, Tommy Egan (Ethan Hawke) begins to question the ethics of his job when assigned to controversial missions against the Taliban.
I read somewhere that Good Kill is like a gamers version of Top Gun – That statement alone gave me the worst expectation of the film’s style and genre as it’s less of a fighter jet action movie and more of a really interesting thought-provoking drama. The character study aspect really helps to underline the physical and mental toll an individual is under when fighting for their own country – but what is most interesting is the perspective of a former F-16 ace turned drone pilot for the mockingly titled US Chair Force. Having a man question the excitement and moralistic nature of the technological transition highlights many war based issues (not just for the US but for any country with the use of drones).
Moments in the film where a series of escalating controversial orders are made toward Tommy and his partners show them dealing with immense amounts of pressure on an intense level. The tension can really be felt by the audience as you follow his journey as a drone pilot – but it’s not without its imperfections of plot construction. There appears to be unclear direction in terms of his emotional issues. He is under duress from his job because of the questionable orders he has to follow but when in moments of self-reflection it’s as a result of not being able to fly the “good ol fashion way” in which he would still have to follow contentious instructions. To me the message feels a little misguided.
Ethan Hawke has really found his feet as of late and it’s great to see him in films where he gets to really demonstrate his dramatic ability. He suits this role and he excels with these type of performances – I think he’s a truly underrated performer and I hope to see him in similar movies in the future (I would like to see less of him in scare-mongering horror films although he adds a much-needed touch of class to them.)
As mentioned before, if it’s a gun-toting jet movie you’re after then look elsewhere but if you want to see an intelligent drama that will have you questioning the dawning of technological advancement in military weaponry then set your sights on Good Kill.
3 and a half Bottles of Vodka out of 5
by Simon Garganera Price