So I was at the gym last night, getting my “swole on,” as they say. I happened to notice some sort of drone racing on ESPN. Apparently there is a Drone Racing League, or DRL. Looks fun.
Then the announcer described the action and said, “Here you can see how the pilot has to…”
(Lifting up glasses to wipe tears away while slowing calming down)
You know that a movie is no good when it’s available for free in high definition on the internet one month before it is in theaters. I actually have a theory about these things. You can’t tell me that all the big movies, like Furious 7, have some special agreement within their production team to not leak a copy early to the internet and that the lesser movies aren’t able to form this sort of solidarity. So my theory is that certain movies, even ones with A-list-ers, are purposefully leaked so the studio or powers that be can get a feel, or more properly, brace themselves for the box office flop that they already fear they’ve produced. Niccol’s flick Good Kill starring Ethan Hawke is just such a movie.
If you haven’t heard of the film that isn’t due in theaters until May 15th, it’s essentially American Sniper, except that it’s about an USAF drone pilot instead of a Navy SEAL sniper. But all the familiar themes are there–estranged wife, alcohol abuse, PTSD, questioning the war, suspected adultery on all sides.
Naturally, I watched the film because it’s about something very close to home. When I worked shifts in the operations center overseas, I watched “predator-vision,” as they called it, and saw little black missiles zip from the top left of the screen onto the astonishingly unsuspecting bad guy. I heard knuckleheads cheer in a way that made me uncomfortable, though I was never certain which of us was expressing the proper sentiment after witnessing such things.
I’ll tell you what my favorite part of the movie was, the movie that no one should watch (it really is terrible and boring and filled with an agenda that is not hidden anywhere close to well enough to be powerful), my favorite part of the movie were the scenes where the camera lingered–perhaps unintentionally–on shots of the six or seven trailers that were essentially the cockpits of the unmanned aircraft. There was just something about the idea that in the middle of the desert in an unknown location, Air Force personnel are sitting inside tan double-wides and sniping terrorists seven thousand miles away. It’s difficult to articulate my feelings about it, but especially if the director lingered on purpose, I think those scenes are the “a picture’s worth a thousand words” that define the issue (or whatever we’re calling it.)
In the end, I don’t know why I watch these movies and I’m probably going to call it quits soon. Hollywood’s proven they can get insider information and make a realistic movie, but Good Kill is just another example that despite this access they have nothing valuable to say on the matter.