Good Kill

2015

Good Kill (2015)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Thought-provoking, timely, and anchored by a strong performance from Ethan Hawke, Good Kill is a modern war movie with a troubled conscience.

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Movie Info

In the shadowy world of drone warfare, combat unfolds like a video game-only with real lives at stake. After six tours of duty, Air Force pilot Tom Egan (Ethan Hawke) yearns to get back into the cockpit of a real plane, but he now fights theTaliban from an air-conditioned box in the Las Vegas desert. When he and his crew start taking orders directly from the CIA, and the stakes are raised, Egan's nerves-and his relationship with his wife (Mad Men's January Jones)-begin to unravel. Revealing the psychological toll drone pilots endure as they are forced to witness the aftermath of their fight against insurgents, Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) directs this riveting insider's view of 21st-century warfare, in which operatives target enemies from half a world away. (C) IFC Films

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Cast

Ethan Hawke
as Thomas Egan
January Jones
as Molly Egan
Jake Abel
as Zimmer
Zoë Kravitz
as Vera Siarez
Bruce Greenwood
as Col. Jack Johns
Akshay Patel
as Army Pilot
Alma Sisneros
as Emily James
Dylan Kenin
as Capt. Ed Christie
Bill Seward
as Sports Anchor
Rich Chavez
as A1C Thomas Rutledge
Sachie Capitani
as Jesse Egan
Stephen M. Hardin
as Casino/Bar Patron
Jahan Khalili
as Muslim Man
Jessica Stotz Harrell
as Airman Jean Jacobson
Edric Ray
as Airman Steven Willer
Ross Shaw
as Lt. Drier
Peter Coyote
as Langley
Kevin Wiggins
as Trooper Morgan
Zion Leyba
as Travis Egan
Ryan Montano
as Airman Roy Carlos
Chakir Faiz
as The Man
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News & Interviews for Good Kill

Critic Reviews for Good Kill

All Critics (122) | Top Critics (33)

Good Kill excels as a character study with Niccol's screenplay making Egan a fascinatingly conflicted and flawed individual and Ethan Hawke giving one of his best recent performances bringing the man to life.

May 23, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

But the visuals pack a visceral punch. Every time Tom zeroes in on a target, every time he pushes that button, what we see on those monitors is brutally authentic.

May 22, 2015 | Rating: 3.0

"Good Kill" is darkly enlightening, but it's not really all that good.

May 22, 2015 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

The audience seems likely to leave feeling scolded or pandered to, depending. Not a great time.

May 21, 2015 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

"Good Kill" wants to use the movies as a Trojan horse to confront us with our international sins. It's a worthy effort, even if it's not a very well-built horse.

May 21, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Thoughtful and immensely gripping ...

May 21, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Good Kill

Major Tom Egan (Ethan Hawke) is a decorated Air-force pilot, who after five deployments, has been assigned to a base in Las Vegas, where he conducts drones strikes over Afghanistan. He hates his job and feels like a coward, but things get a whole lot worse, when the CIA commissions his team to start doing questionable jobs. Egan starts to come apart and take it out on his co-workers and family, leading to an uncertain future. IFC films are right at the top of my list right now as the absolute best in independent film. Seldom have they disappointed me, and I wouldn't describe my feelings about Good Kill as disappointed, but rather indifferent. This film, based on a true story, was exceptionally written and features a fantastic director and an amazing cast, but it also moves at a snails pace and is extremely repetitive. It's just drone strike, reaction, intervention, repeat, over and over again, followed by an ending that wasn't all that surprising. Ethan Hawke gives a powerful performance, despite the fact that he lacks the kind of emotion this role sorely needed. I understand that having Egan be this stone cold guy on the outside is a major theme, but it also makes for a lot of seemingly endless conversations and interactions. Good Kill has a lot of elements I look for in a movie, it's well written, has a cast I really enjoy, a director I know very well, still, it's lacking in emotion and levity. The film is monotonous and much longer than it had to be, all in all, not bad, but not great.

Todd Smith
Todd Smith

Super Reviewer

½

The growingly popular "Modern Warfare" sub-genre, Good Kill is about drone warfare and how an Air Force pilot is forced to become a drone pilot and struggles during the transition. A film like this poses many questions regarding the morality of drone warfare, the problem is it doesn't fully explore them. Instead we are focussed on Hawke's character and how his work life is affecting his personal life. The film does have an excellent cast, Hawke adds another great performance to his filmography but the real star is Greenwood who plays a colonel (a ridiculously underrated actor), Jones and Kravitz are also good. The visuals of terror is great, with very realistic drone combat that is sure to make some look on with horror. The script is so-so, with some pacing issues but director Andrew Niccol does his best to keep the suspense. Overall, a well acted drone warfare movie which vaguely explores the moral issues that comes with it.

Luke Andrews
Luke Andrews

Super Reviewer

½

A drone pilot struggles with the morality of his job, the urge to fly again, and his marriage. Primarily this film is a debate about the ethics of drone warfare and the "War on Terror." The supporting characters are representatives of political positions, their metonymic function is to parrot the arguments for and against bombing sovereign nations, collateral damage (bombing civilians), and bombing people who might eventually bomb Americans. An overwhelming percentage of the film serves to present this argument, and while the content of their exchanges is largely substantive, it creates an inauthenticity to the film; I doubt that real military personnel engage in this kind of debate in this kind of language. Even January Jones's character becomes a mash of two types: the supportive military wife mixed with the disloyal military wife. Except for the main character, all of the others are cliched types. Ethan Hawke's performance is pretty good. His sensitive eyes and taut jaw convey Tom's conflict, but he's not served by the script, which doesn't give him too far to go in Tom's emotional and ethical development. In one scene, Tom feels guilty about bombing people from thousands of miles away, and in the next scene he feels more guilty about doing the same thing. Hawke does his best, and he's a talented actor, believable in this role, but I wish he had had more to work with. Overall, despite my complaints, Good Kill is not a bad film, but a greater focus on character would've made it better.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

½

Over his career, writer-director Andrew Niccol has made a series of films about advanced technology and how they might apply to Ethan Hawke. With his latest, "Good Kill," there is the state of the art technology of drone warfare. However, this time around, mind the Star Trek('A Taste of Armageddon'), Niccol is more curious about whether any war, no matter how hard we may try, can ever be considered entirely clean while asking questions that require an answer one of these days.(As far as one of those goes, yes that is a war crime.) At the same time, the movie captures exactly how weird a place Las Vegas is and not just because of those ominous overhead shots. What there is of a story concerns Major Thomas Egan(Ethan Hawke), a former Air Force pilot, now relegated to flying drones from an air conditioned room in Nevada. While he desperately wants to get back in the air, his wife Molly(January Jones) desperately wants to have sex. As you can imagine, the excellent performances from Hawke and Bruce Greenwood definitely do make a difference here.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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