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Very contemporary and topical, this film looks at 'remote controlled aircraft' deployed as weapons of war. The 'pilots' are in the US, the 'targets' in Afghanistan. Overall I found this a very convincing and exciting representation of contemporary warfare, however, for me it was brought down by some unfortunate touches.For one, I doubt the US Military would tolerate active personnel 'talking down' their work quite so vociferously, even if it does supposedly show them as 'humane' and 'sensitive'. Both the character played by Ethan Hawke, 'Thomas Egar' and the female 'pilot' engage in this kind of railing. Second, seen from the sky above, one vile character emerges and is seen several times violently mistreating a female figure in a burka. Thomas' final act before walking out is to settle the score. You can't do that, friend, it's called 'murder'. You kill on order and only on order. You do not pick 'em off in your spare time on the basis that "he had it coming". Finally, I found it something of a strain to the credibility of the film that a highly-trained and valued member of an elite US fighting corps could lack the control to desist from irresponsible, on-duty alcoholism - to extent that he loses his job and his wife leaves him. I would have given it four stars if the makers had shown more awareness in their handling of these sub-topics.
Former Fighter-Pilot 'Thomas Egar' (Ethan Hawke) now fights the 'Taliban' in 'Afghanistan' from 7,000 miles away from a military base in 'Nevada' controlling 'Drones' targeting know activists. He misses his former role as a combat pilot repeatedly asking his commanding officer 'Lt Colonel Jack Johns' (Bruce Greenwood) to be reassigned. Killing from this distance away from the enemy doesn't sit well with his conscience, because hitting the designated targets frequently includes many innocents perishing along the way. 'Thomas' lives at home with his wife 'Molly' (January Jones) and children 'Jesse' and 'Danny' increasingly 'Thomas' turns to drink to block out the hits (good-kill) at work, inevitably his relationship with his wife and children becomes strained, it can only be a matter of time before his new best friend Vodka also effects his decisions at work also.... The fact that the targeting is increasingly becoming conducted on a broader scale makes 'Thomas' and the team question who the real terrorists in this war really is......however it's their job. Said to be based upon real events the film does portray the way that war is increasingly fought these days....makes one think that's for sure. There are disturbing images, scenes of violence including sex obtained through violence , frequent colourful language. The film, worth a viewing. Extras - * Interview with Ethan Hawke - Interview with Andrew Niccol * Behind the Scenes
A brooding but ultimately rather distant movie about war and what it does to people even if they're only drones flying other drones. It has to be distant because the violence is by nature detached - nothing personal, you understand. It seems pretty well observed and makes its points about "death from above" and the reasons for thinking it is such a good thing, and what this does to people who can't act on the real wrongs in the world because their mission orders dictate otherwise. The odd duality of flying war missions in a far distant country and returning home to family on the edge of a modern housing development in southern USA at the end of another day, is quite well done. The domestic crises, the doubts of the military people themselves, combine to make this a story about people struggling with everyday problems and ethical dilemmas that are eventually revolved (for a moment only) in one "off the map" mission that provides some sense of closure after which nothing else matters.
It's a character study, not an action movie. There are explosions, but nothing that the real militaries wouldn't show to admiring audiences around the world when another group of terrorists or wedding parties bites the dust. As such, it works, and although the movie seems drawn out, it needs to be in order to chronicle the slow progress towards some sort of enlightenment.
Good Kill is a provocative and controversial film, not broadly accepted, for, they say, it is ambiguous, too critical, or too soft with USA.
Personally I found it a courageous yet very focused and conscious film, that puts all of us in front of an anthropological dilemma: not just if remote control war is moral, but how current technology (which is not just that, but also digital and social connection) really gets us closer to or more detached from the rest of the world.
The whole film is in fact set between the protagonist house (and everyday life) and the military headquarter: they decide life and death of people living on the other side of the planet, but just execute orders, which are not so out of question themselves. So they just need either to switch their brain off and watch the bloodscene like it is just another video on the web (feeling like gods or like just robots) or consciously take a side (like getting involved).
Yes, getting involved: trying to break the screen and watch was going on (also due to them) as something real, with consequences. Once, in Clint Eastwood Unforgiven, he said: "It's a hell of a thing, ain't it, killin' a man. You take everything he's got... and everything he's ever gonna have..."
This film is about this, but also about our role in the world, in a hyper connected yet still so isolated world.
From Andrew Niccol, another distopian yet very real and current story. At the end of the day, not so far from Truman Show and Gattaca.
I'm being kind with 3* really. This is a dull story about a dull job however current the issue is. As a gamer I've manned the guns of a Hercules C30 Puff the Magic Dragon and I found that part of the game quite dull. Now if they had had a patrol of soldiers who were attacked by the Tallies and our drone operator had saved them, that would have made things a bit more exciting. Is another film about a dull job and a dull domestic scene really worth making into a film? So he understandably finds it frustrating to be no longer flying jet fighters and his conscience is troubled by the CIA ordered attacks. Fair enough but this war is as murky as they come so who knows the rights & wrongs? I would love all nations not to need armies & weapons but this ain't ever going to happen. I would love combat to never result in any civilian casualties or damage to their homes, this ain't going to happen either. Luckily I paid a low price for this Blu-Ray!
I love Andrew Niccoll films. He wrote & directed 2015 Good Kill : 1 star 2013 The Host : 2 stars
2011 In Time : 4 stars 2005 Lord of War : 5 stars 2002 S1m0ne :4 stars 1997 Gattaca : 4 stars His last two films are rubbish. 'Good Kill' is dull as dish water. Take away Ethan Hawke and January Jones, and you would not get this snoozefest made. Methinks i'll read all the reviews on Andrew Niccoll's next film.
Ethan Hawke portrays the main person in this film very well, it delves into the mindset of a troubled man doing a job of killing from afar, being a drone controller would seem to be easy but this film say's the opposite. Excellent photography.
Gritty film about the challenges of remote pilotted Drones. If your interested in military action films this one has a slower more thoughtful pace. Its highly watchable and thought provoking.... Highly Recommended
A good film but gets a bit tedious towards the end. It seems as if the main character drone operator life is falling apart but no one is noticing. There are a few dilemmas in the plot which do make you think " what would I have done".