Venice: Andrew Niccol’s Drone Warfare Pic ‘Good Kill’ Stirs Lido Debate

September 5, 2014 4:02 PM

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Andrew Niccol‘s Venice Competition title Good Kill has its World Premiere gala here tonight before heading to Toronto. It screened for press this morning to a mix of applause, and some boos. But reviews have thus far been generally positive for the story of an Air Force drone pilot (Ethan Hawke) who spends the day hitting targets halfway around the world from inside a metal cube on a Las Vegas air base before heading home each evening to his family. Hawke’s Tommy Egan, a pilot who did several tours in Iraq, has been grounded and assigned to effecting drone strikes under the seemingly arbitrary command of the CIA, which he questions with increasing desperation. Hawke has gotten strong notices, but one of the issues for audiences here seems to have been in initial reaction that the film is “too American.” That’s somewhat ironic since Niccol is a Kiwi and the movie is produced by Frenchman Nicolas Chartier’s Voltage Pictures.

A somewhat ambiguous ending, intended to let audiences decide the ramifications of and justifications for Egan’s final-frames actions, has been part of the discussion today. Producer Zev Foreman tells me that if audiences are reacting with opinon, “we’re doing our job.” But he bristles at the notion...

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