Good Kill Review – Precise, Intelligent, Defining Modern Warfare

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GOOD KILL, from IFC Films and Voltage Pictures, presents a sharp, edgy, significant film on the politics of drone warfare, the government’s ability to conduct battle and inflict mass casualty without leaving the states.

Directed and written by Andrew Niccol, GOOD KILL stars Ethan Hawk, Bruce Greenwood, January Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Jake Able, Ryan Montano, Dylan Kenin, Stafford Douglas and Peter Coyote.

GOOD KILL opens with Major Thomas Eagan, played by Ethan Hawk, leading his squad in war maneuvers over the skies of Iraq. Along with Lt. Colonel Jack Johns, played by Bruce Greenwood, who directs the missions, the team are patrolling the deserts following orders to release drone missiles as directed without question.

On this day Airman Roy Carlos, played by Ryan Montano, questions the judgment call and a good kill is clouded by civilian casualty.

Maintaining battle over Afghanistan on the sands outside of Las Vegas, from a box car fortress that allows our men and women the ability to maintain the commitment the government has made to a policy while ensuring a safe return every night to family can be straining even for the most seasoned solider.

Home for the holidays, and every day, plays well in the eyes of Americans who are unaware of drone warfare and are willing to tolerate a few misses over the streets of Bagdad to ensure zero U.S. casualty.  

As the team dynamics change, the squad comprised of Egan, Captain Ed Christie, played by Dylan Kenin, and M.I. C. Joseph Zimmer, played by Jake Abel.

We met Airman Vera Suarez, played by Zoe Kravitz who replaces a skittish Carlos, on her first day with the team. Having been ordered to wait the arrival of Lt. Colonel Johns, the four sit around waiting, wondering, hoping for jets, for real battle. 

Johns arrives and informs the group they have been given a new mission and a new commander who will only be known to them as Langley. Langley, the CIA representative,is voiced by Peter Coyote in a chilling performance.

Our team, Egan, Captain Ed Christie, Suarez, and M.I. C. Joseph Zimmer, in their field of study are experts, as human beings, in various stages of life, are deeply flawed. War, even from a distant taxes a man. Now as the CIA unveils its direction the team begins to question the policy.

And to the credit of the filmmaker, he refused to create bots who would blindly follow. Creating those characters willing to utilize expertise to blur the lines made for real internal conflict and struggle.

The drone is eyes in the skies, hovering with super sensitive radar the drone is able to see with precision activity on the ground. Not precise enough to see the whites of one’s eyes, the drones are highly evolved. The ethics of humanity become the guide for our team stuck hovering over a third world, unable to intervene, and must perform only on command.

Major Eagan, fortunate enough to leave war at 5:00PM and head to the outskirts of Vegas to spend his evenings with his wife, played by January Jones and children. Eagan is nearing a mental break down, drowning himself in booze every night, he is as bottled up as the booze, only he never escapes.

His family is falling apart, his wife is distant, and he is further. Unable to talk about the mission he has isolated himself. Suarez, a dedicated solider senses the possibilities and puts designs on the married Major.

I recommend GOOD KILL, a war film, with edgy characters and sharp dialogue, which will define the modern warfare generation. As Oliver Stone’s Platoon, Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker and Roland Joffe’s The Killing Fields defined war, GOOD KILL tackles the politics of drone usage warfare and is stunning in its depiction of the mental anguish good men and women face when dealing with ghost enemies.

An all-star cast Ethan Hawk again gives an academy award performance, Peter Coyote as "Langley" an only voiced performance could land him award recognition and Bruce Greenwood in his best role to date, gives a defining moment in a lengthy and storied career.

GOOD KILL, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and opened in select cities May 15. GOOD KILL continues its international roll out with premieres throughout the world. See this film if you can.

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