NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE review.
This is a small (as in intimate) movie w/ a VERY serious message- distancing and dehumanizing your enemy is ALSO a way of dehumanizing yourself. I went to see this film back in May w/ my ladies’ movie Meetup; there was a brief Q&A w/ Ethan Hawke (VERY pleasant/thoughtful guy) and the director (Andrew Niccol, a Brit). Aside from my group, there were press folks, and many associated w/ MSNBC’s news show, Hardball (Chris Matthews was the moderator). A few members of the armed forces were also present; they seemed to relate to a LOT the film from comments I heard.
Fighter pilot Major Tom Egan (Hawke) is STILL fighting The War on Terror, though he now works from a pod in the Nevada desert, not too far from the suburban Las Vegas home he shares w/ his wife, Molly (January Jones), and their two young kids. Tom and his team conduct drone strikes; it looks a LOT like playing a video game (disturbing, yet darkly humorous to a layperson). We see that Tom is dissatisfied w/ his work; his supervisor Lt. Col. Johns (Bruce Greenwood- provides wry humor and some of the best lines) knows that it’s NOT an ideal situation, but they are still “doing good.”
This is a one man’s journey (Hawke is VERY well-suited) type of film, which uses tight close-ups on Hawke and his team, which later includes a young newbie, Airman Suarez (Zoe Kravitz, who does a decent job). The people in Afghanistan (locals, baddies, etc.) are seen in grainy video- no closeups there. Check out this film (recently available on Redbox) to see what happens!