Ethan Hawke, January Jones. Directed by Andrew Niccol.
FILM SYNOPSIS: In the shadowy world of drone warfare, combat unfolds like a video game–only with real lives at stake. After six tours of duty, Air Force pilot Tom Egan (Ethan Hawke) yearns to get back into the cockpit of a real plane, but he now fights militants from an air-conditioned shipping container in the Nevada desert. When he and his crew start taking orders directly from the CIA, and the stakes are raised, Egan's nerves—and his relationship with his wife (Mad Men's January Jones)—begin to unravel. Revealing the psychological toll drone pilots endure as they are forced to witness the aftermath of their fight against insurgents, Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) directs this riveting insider’s view of 21st-century warfare, in which operatives target unseen enemies from half a world away.
PREVIEW REVIEW: The moment the first bullet was invented, there have been protestors. The bullet, the bomb and now videogame-inspired warfare have been used to defend lives, end world wars, and now protect our military against foreign aggressors from afar. And still, there are protestors. Covertly, or not so much, director Andrew Niccol is a protestor. And to be honest, it’s impossible to say he doesn’t have a point. If you kill somebody, even from a drone manned thousands of miles away, it will eventually affect you. But he makes his point with a decidedly antagonistic military prejudice.
Like American Sniper, Good Kill isn’t about the justification of war. It registers as a cautionary tale concerning the price to be paid, even by the victors. But unlike American Sniper, Good Kill looks to set blame on someone – not the enemy, mind you, just evil, warmongering America. Here, it’s a militaristic CIA, yes, CIA, that covertly runs the military brass. Over the phone, with a 2001: A Space Odyssey Hal-like inflection, a voice demands that second strikes wipe out those who come to dig out their dead from the first strike. You can just visualize this guy flicking his mustache as he instructs good men to do evil deeds.
It’s a kind of pompous tale that sums up Hollywood’s antiwar sentiments. Alas, those who believe you fight evil by providing jobs will never embrace the reality made evident in Ecclesiastes 3:8, “…a time for war and a time of peace.”
Satan has made it a time of war. Not the CIA. Not our military.
DVD Alt: American Sniper.Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: IFC Films
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