An excellent film in every way

by Martin Hafer

Good Kill reunites director Andrew Niccol with Ethan Hawke, who previously worked together on Gattaca, which was terrific because the film brought up many social issues in addition to being entertaining. Good Kill is very similar in that it also brings up issues of import and is exceptionally well made and entertaining. It’s so good, in fact, I cannot wait for these two to work together in the future.

This movie is set in Nevada back in 2010. The use of attack drones by the US military is on the increase and one of their best pilots is Tom Egan (Hawke). But since this is a new kind of war, Egan can kill Afghan rebels on the other side of the world … yet go home to his wife and kids at the end of the day. This all seems very surreal, yet folks like him are doing this every day. During all this time flying strikes for the Air Force, Egan is efficient and seems to have little compunction about what he’s doing.

Good Kill
Written & Directed by
Andrew Niccol
Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Zoë Kravitz
Release Date
15 May 2015
Martin’s Grade: A

When he also begins to do assignments for the CIA , he and another member of his team, Corporal Suarez (Zoë Kravitz), start having problems because the old rules of engagement are gone. No longer will they make sure with the same level of certainty before launching missiles at human beings. Now, they’re being told who to attack and when…even when there are innocent civilians nearby in some cases and in others when they aren’t sure they’re getting the right people.

At the same time all this is happening and Egan is having his doubts, his wife (January Jones) is also having her doubts about their marriage. After all, Tom never talks about what he does and he’s so distant. Heck, he almost never talks at all and he keeps internalizing his doubts, pushing his lovely wife away. How is this all to end? He cannot keep drinking and stuffing his feelings down deeper and deeper forever — something has to give.

This is an excellent film in every way. Nicol’s script is well written and the film doesn’t pull any punches. It shows the ugliness of war and the ambiguities. Most importantly, it shows the emotional toll on those fighting this new and very unconventional war. It also forces the viewer to think about so many issues. But what I also really like about the film is that it has mass appeal — no matter what you think about this conflict, the movie has something that will resonate with the viewer. It is a truly unique film that would appeal to those on the left, the right and middle of the political spectrum. Good Kill is well worth your time.