At one point in Good Kill, an Air Force Lt. Colonel played by Bruce Greenwood tells Ethan Hawke’s Major Thomas Egan, “No one’s throwing a pity party for us.” Maybe not, but there are moments when Andrew Niccol’s lament on drone warfare comes spectacularly close.
Egan exists at the center of this tale which deals with not only where the drones are flying, but more importantly where the drones are being flown from. The major and his team, supervised by Greenwood’s Lt. Colonel Jack Johns, spend their workdays (or worknights) in an air-conditioned metal box in Las Vegas, controlling unmanned craft 7,000 miles away in and around Afghanistan.
What Good Kill makes abundantly clear early on is that there is a jarring difference between controlling an aircraft in a warzone and sleeping at home with your family. While on the face of it, some may think it better for the pilots to sleep at home at night, the truth is that having to repeatedly make the transition from war to peace or vice versa is exceptionally difficult.