What is it like to have to compartmentalize war and civilian life? Many movies have aimed to look at the struggle that soldiers go through transitioning from war to life at home.
Good Kill takes a different approach and looks at a soldier who is serving his country while also being only a few miles away from home.
Ethan Hawke plays Major Thomas Egan, a former fighter pilot who now pilots drones remotely in Afghanistan. He serves on an Air Force base in Nevada just miles from his home in the suburbs of Las Vegas.
The film takes a look at how this man deals with the stresses of war while also being able to come back home to his wife and kids every day. It reveals the human costs that come with remote drone strikes.
The film also takes a critical look at the reality that comes with drones. It visually shows how the controlling and firing of the weapons takes a little more than knowledge of how to move a joystick.
Each time Egan and his crew have to lock on and destroy a target the movie makes sure that there is gravity to it. No frame during these moments is wasted.
Good Kill seeks to show that though firing these weapons is like a video game, the consequences are very real. There are no humorous scenes any time the trigger is pulled, only tension as the audience and the actors watch the bomb hit its target.
Overall the movie is a fantastic and the personal look at the toll that impersonal war can still have on those who wage it. It tries to show that even in making war remote, there are still real consequences that must be understood and dealt with.
This is not an us versus them war movie. Instead, it seeks to show the humanity on both sides of the drone. No one’s life is considered unimportant in the movie, the Americans and the Afghans are portrayed to be human lives that matter.
The ending feels a little like a cop out and the story line between Egan and an Afghan woman seem unnecessary, but other than that there are very few wasted scenes. Each is used to highlight the humanity of an otherwise inhuman style of war.
Good Kill is rated R and is in theaters now.