Freeview film of the day Thursday 21 September: Good Kill

A simmering war drama starring Ethan Hawke as the US Air Force pilot tasked with dropping bombs for the CIA


Good Kill  ★★★★ 
Premiere 9.00-11.05pm Film4


Reassigned from flying combat missions in the field to operating drone strikes from a military base just outside Las Vegas, a US Air Force pilot (Ethan Hawke) experiences the horrifying contradictions of modern warfare in this drama reuniting Hawke with Gattaca director Andrew Niccol. After wiping out CIA-approved targets from the air, Major Egan drives home each day to beer, barbecue and a long-suffering wife (January Jones), a wrenching juxtaposition that soon takes a mental toll. As Hawke’s comrades, including gruffly pragmatic commanding officer Bruce Greenwood, express a range of opinions from unquestioning obedience to extreme moral unease at their mission, Niccol is clearly out to make a political point about what’s being done in the name of national security. As such this is a cautionary counterpart to Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, and while its largely intimate surroundings can make the drama appear rather small-scale, the effectively simmering central performance helps create a potent and provocative report on how combat is mutating into a real-life video-game. Trevor Johnston


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