Good Kill – Review

By Barbara Stanzl

Drop everything and go watch that movie now! Andrew Niccol a director from New Zealand knows his stuff. It’s astounding how casual death comes. By pushing one button you can kill a lot of civilians. The Americans have been doing this for quite a few years. Bloody hell. That film really opens your eyes (if they have been closed for a while) I saw it at the Venice film festival last year and it was one of the overlooked contenders. It was nominated for a golden lion and in my opinion should have won but maybe it was just a bit too critical. Ethan Hawke plays a fighter pilot who is now based in Las Vegas and sends drones to Afghanistan but from a cubicle in Las Vegas rather than bombing from above. What an easy thing to do except the characters in the movie are humans and they start to doubt their actions once they’ve blown up a few civilians. The enemy (the Taliban in Afghanistan) has a face now, because the cameras are so good that you can see the face of the person before you blow them up. Welcome to the future. The acting is very good, Zoe Kravitz joins Ethan Hawke in the cubicle and there are some seriously tense and very well acted moments. Andrew Nicoll creates a seemingly normalish world in a crazy world. There is a parallel world in suburbia when Hawke goes back to wife and child and that part of the movie is pretty similar to Mad Men. Maybe that’s because his wife is January Jones and her performance is similar to Mad Men’s bored housewife Betty Draper. They have a seemingly normal life, barbecues with friends over but the former pilot is starting to doubt the mission and the cracks start to show. I would categorize this movie as very much an anti war film. And it’s not entertaining. It’s not meant to be entertaining! The casualty of war is shocking, the fight pointless. What they are doing surely creates more terrorists. It’s a vicious circle. The enemy evil, presumably Taliban men and helpless women. Quite a convenient generalization. Nicoll seems to be conflicted and couldn’t resist the temptation to give his characters a chance to be “heros”and “heroines” after all. To decide who to save and who not.

Good Kill Movie
But there’s now a new documentary on Al Jazeera which will talk about the other side, the victims who have to live with the drones. Apparently the drones are always there and you never know if they will shoot you. I will be watching it because it is always vital to see both sides. And that one is reality and not just a movie.


Barbara Stanzl

Barbara Stanzl

Feature: Barbara Stanzl

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