War becomes a deadly Video game in Good Kill

War Of The Drones.

War becomes a deadly video game in the powerful Good Kill, except that the targets are not pixels, but flesh and blood.

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Zoe Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in Good Kill.

This astounding film from New Zealand-born filmmaker Andrew Niccol, who made his debut in 1997 with Gattaca, and although he has established himself in the world of science fiction with his original ideas about what the future might look like,  Good Kill,is far more grounded in the world as it is today than any of his previous work (The Truman Show, Simone, Lord of War, In Time, The Host)

Good Kill goes inside the world of military drones with Ethan Hawke playing Major Thomas Egan, an Air Force pilot stationed at a base outside Las Vegas where he flies drones over Middle Eastern regions, both for surveillance and to take out potential terror threats. It’s a difficult job that starts to affect Egan’s home life with his wife (played by January Jones), especially after his team are assigned to work for the CIA, who are a lot less concerned with the collateral damage of innocent lives in order to take out “enemies.”

Drone warfare is very much a hot topic right now and although Good Kill doesn’t hit the viewer over the head with the politics behind drone strikes, it does make one wonder how far the government might go to protect its citizens.

Imagine going through your daily life when a bomb or rocket takes out others around you. You never know when it’s coming and there’s very little you can do about it, and it poses the question when the unfair advantage the government has over those declared enemies should be considered terrorism just as much as their attacks on us.

It’s a long distance war fought between the USA and the Taliban, with a fighter pilot turned drone pilot, based in Las Vegas, fighting the Taliban by remote control for twelve hours a day, then goes home to the suburbs and feuds with his wife and kids for the other twelve.

It’s  a bloody and relentless war that erodes the conscience of drone pilots, and in Good Kill, Hawke’s character is a family man who drowns his guilt in booze to escape the families that are destroyed in clouds of dust.

It’s a frightening prospect and what makes it even more horrific, is that the film is based on true events, showing how these drone wars keep a watchful eye on its targets, no matter where you think you might be hiding.

The film reminds strongly of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, where a man watches helplessly as murder is committed, and had to decide whether or not to follow his conscience.

Says Niccol:  ”It’s about the new schizophrenia of war. After fighting the Taliban for 12 hours a day Tommy goes home to the suburbs to feud with his wife and kids for the other 12. Set during the greatest escalation of drone strikes, it’s about the moral conflicts and dilemmas of using this new technology. But it’s very much a personal story. Tommy is becoming a casualty of a war he’s fighting from half a world away, all the while in absolutely no danger. He is a pilot, grieving the death of actual flying and suffering from shell shock while also feeling guilty that he’s so far away from the shells. He is becoming disconnected from real life, relating more to the targets he’s watching and their families than his own family.”