Just been watching…(45)

Good Kill (2014)

***No spoilers***

An American war film that looks at a very different aspect of modern warfare. Air Force drone pilots, operating lethal killer-drones over Afghanistan and other countries, from a remote base near Las Vegas. Recruited as much for their skill at playing video games, as for their ability to fly jets, these young servicemen and women sit in steel cabins, delivering death on demand at the behest of the CIA, or High Command.

Major Tom Egan has flown many combat tours, and proved his skill in the air. But now his beloved jets are in mothballs, as the Air Force concentrates on a new kind of war. The silent unseen drones, picking off targets at will, from 10,000 feet above an enemy that has no idea what is about to happen. He is unhappy, disillusioned, drinking too much. Although he can return to his modern house near the city every day after work, home to his pretty wife and two children, he misses ‘the fear’, the unexpected, and the feeling of being in control, up in his jet fighter.

He has a Mexican-American female partner; new to the job, she is also uneasy about they way the war is being fought, the disregard for civilian casualties, and the shady tasks carried out for the Security Services. The base commander is an old friend, Colonel Jack Johns. He is a realist. War is changing, and the way the Air Force operates is changing with it. He sympathises with Tom, but he knows that orders are orders, and they must be followed. As the missions increase in intensity, Tom’s home life spirals out of control, along with his drinking, and bleak moods.

This is a surprisingly powerful film, with an excellent cast. I must be going soft in my old age, as I am starting to believe that Ethan Hawke is a very good actor. He brings some light and shade to the character of Tom, and is convincing in his quiet withdrawal too. Bruce Greenwood is outstanding as the conflicted commander, Colonel Johns, and an unseen Peter Coyote gives a chilling turn as the voice of the CIA, heard only on a speakerphone. When they are operating the drones, the satellite footage is never less than authentic in feel, with real tension in every scene. The debates about the morality of what they are doing are not overblown, and those arguments countered by other characters who think that they are doing something necessary, and worthwhile.

I really liked this film, and highly recommend it. Here’s a trailer.

19 thoughts on “Just been watching…(45)

  1. Thanks, Pete. Not a film I have watched. I think probably Ethan Hawke is growing older too (I do like him but I always think of the Before Dawn series… that I really like). He writes as well but I haven’t read his books.
    Your comment about the movie made me think of a debate I caught on the radio last week, in Radio 2, where they were discussing if drone pilots should be given medals or not, precisely because they are not supposed to be at risk… Did you watch ‘Eye in the Sky’? I really enjoyed that movie.
    I’ll look it hap and thanks for the recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Frank. (You were the blogger of course, I meant to type ‘your recommendation’)
      I found this on the Amazon UK site, at £2.49 per episode. Trouble is, I would have to watch it on my old 15 inch Dell monitor, as the TV is not connected to the Internet. I will investigate further, and appreciate the heads up.
      I might just have to go ‘Prime’!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

      1. Pete – Well I also have Amazon Firestick attached to my T.V. so I can stream just about anything off of the internet to my television. I never watch any movies on my computer. Prime is a good deal here – lots of movies and videos, including Life and Fate, I haven’t seen anywhere else for $100 a year. Also gets me free shipping on anything I purchase on Amazon. :-).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. On my towatch list! BTW. watch a series film done on the book Life and Fate by Vassily Grossman. Series has the same title. I thought it was excellent. Russian made with English sub-titles. A great watch for someone interested in life in the USSR during the war. Regards

    Liked by 1 person

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