Good Kill

Good Kill

In Theatres: 
May 29, 2015
Running Time: 
102 minutes

Towards the beginning of Good Kill, Colonel Jack Johns (Bruce Greenwood) tells a group of new Air Force recruits that what they’re doing is not a video game. They’re at war in the Middle East, despite what their air conditioned bunkers located in the heart of Las Vegas might seem like otherwise. Colonel Johns commands the Air Force’s unmanned aerial vehicle program and carries out drone strikes on hostile targets on a daily basis from essentially the comfort of home. He says it’s not a video game, but that’s exactly what Good Kill feels like, a game where every decision feels detached and leaves less of an impact.


Major Thomas Egan (Ethan Hawke) is a veteran Air Force pilot with years of experience flying fighter jets, but drones have drastically cut down on the amount of pilots in the sky and Thomas has exchanged his wings for a joystick. Even though he’s still protecting his country, it’s a completely different experience when you’re pulling a trigger thousands of miles away.


Drone strikes have always been controversial in the eyes of the public, now more than ever, and Good Kill constantly reinforces the detachment felt by the people in these bunkers. It’s much easier to pull the trigger when all you’re doing is looking through the crosshairs on a computer screen.


Just like a video game, we too are watching all the action through the screen. The film doesn’t have the same impact as others in the war genre. It feels distant and emotionless. Good Kill focuses in on the toll killing people takes on Major Thomas, and while Ethan Hawke gives a decent performances, it lacks any tension. It isn’t until the very end that we see just how much it’s affecting him.


Good Kill has the right ideas and explores and interesting and controversial subject, but like its characters I felt disconnected. It’s great, however, to see a modern war film set not in the deserts of the Middle East but among the glitz and the glamour of Las Vegas. Sin City has never been a more aptly name.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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