Ben Oliver

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Good Kill

Don’t ask me if this is a just war. It’s just war.
18 April 2016

A look into the life of a fighter pilot-turned drone operator (Ethan Hawke) who becomes increasingly wary of his job as the missions stray further and further from their ethical boundaries.

Well I figured this one might be worth a shot, and it’s a nice follow-on from Eye in the Sky. Apart from their subject matter the two films share little in common. Eye in the Sky is a thriller with an all-star ensemble cast while Good Kill focuses mainly on Ethan Hawke, and his life as it spirals out of control.

It also adopts a much harsher view on the drone program. The whole system gets painted as, essentially, a CIA-run killing machine, with only the people at the controls stopping to think about what they are doing. It’s probably too extreme, but the cynic in me thinks it’s likely closer to the truth than the hours spent making decisions in Eye in the Sky.

That said, unfortunately Good Kill also has its failings, and they are more glaringly obvious than the other film. For one, it’s incredibly repetitive. They step into the booth, get the command, pull the trigger, wash rinse repeat. Each time they begin to doubt themselves a little more but it starts to feel like Groundhog Day with a particularly bloodthirsty Bill Murray.

A convincing story, impressively accurate level of detail and solid central performance eventually get droned out of existence, when the dust settles we’re left with tired old cliches and little else. Another waste of a good idea from Andrew Niccol, I’m afraid.

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