In Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca, Ethan Hawke plays a guy who just wants to travel into the sky and beyond. Now the filmmaker and actor are reunited for a third outing (Hawke is also in Niccol’s Lord of War) and this time the latter plays a guy who just wants to get back to the sky. In the new movie, titled Good Kill, he’s not going for the beyond, just wishing to return to a physical bomber jet and actual combat. In a way, that seems like beyond compared to what he’s been doing: getting “good kills” via drone with a joystick in the comfort of an air force base many miles away, on American soil. And everyday he finishes up his shift remotely blowing up stuff and people and goes home to his wife (January Jones) and kids in the Vegas suburbs. Anything but a normal mix.
The premise is a worthy idea for a movie in these times, especially for how new military operations are changing what a war movie looks like, but it also seems a little simple. Enough that the new international trailer for Good Kill is already sufficiently on point in less than three minutes. There’s even an implication that Hawke’s character needs more physicality of a sexual nature than he’s getting in his domestic life, too. It could still be very interesting, though, given Niccol’s past dealings with sci-fi situations that relate to our current technologies or scientific pursuits. Drone warfare has been going on for a while yet still feels like something from the future. That’s why actual sci-fi movies of late (RoboCop; Ender’s Game; Captain America: Winter Soldier) continue to comment on drones on elevated or exaggerated levels.
Because it’s Hawke in the lead, I’m on board for a good, well-acted character drama, but I’m also hoping Niccol gives us something above and beyond the obvious here. Otherwise, I’m fine with the real deal and a documentary like Tonje Hessen Schei’s DRONE. Watch the international trailer for Good Kill followed by the trailer for DRONE after the jump.
Good Kill debuted on the festival circuit last fall, from which it received mixed reviews. IFC Films, which picked it up around the same time, hasn’t set a US release date yet.
DRONE is expected to be released in the US, at least online, sometime soon.