“Good Kill” (2014) – Review by Clay Bloodworth

good kill ethan hawke

“Good Kill” compelling and powerful

Ethan Hawke’s character in “Good Kill” has a robotic sensibility, only running on energy drinks and bottomless coffee. His job isn’t an easy one. He sits in an air-conditioned trailer for the good majority of his days and nights manning drones that hover over the homes and meeting places of terrorists. His job is to make sure that these targets are terminated, even when the kills aren’t always clean of civilian casualties. And this character – Major Thomas Egan – doesn’t cope with this well. He’s a quiet man who keeps his rage and discomfort inside, often draining his leftover emotions with a bottle of alcohol and a long drive.

Hawke, who is undoubtedly one of the most reliable actors alive and working today, handles the many dimensions of this man with his usual excellence. We feel for this guy, even as he remains speechless throughout most of the drama. Few actors can emote as well as Hawke does here, and he uses his expressions to reach a certain authenticity. I also found it remarkable that the film is able to succeed and progress constantly while being stuck in the same setting for the bulk of the screen-time. But, without fail, there’s something new for this group to deal with each day, and the ethics of the situation are what make it all so compelling. The timeliness is startling, especially knowing that there’s someone out there doing this difficult job even as you read this.

Andrew Niccol, who you may know from his work on “Gattaca” and “Lord of War”, writes and directs beautifully. He’s got a real talent for choosing the right actors to carry his material, with the great supporting performances from Zoë Kravitz and Bruce Greenwood proving that point. It’s one of the most well-acted films I’ve seen so far this summer, with Ethan Hawke’s powerful role making this one a must-see for any avid movie fan. “Good Kill” is now playing in select theaters and available On Demand.

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