Good Kill

With such films as Gattaca (1997), S1m0ne (2002), and In Time (2011), writer-director Andrew Niccol has employed sci-fi premises to comment obliquely on contemporary issues; in this docudrama he provocatively depicts drone warfare as a real-life sci-fi horror. A psychologically fragile Air Force pilot (Ethan Hawke) is assigned to operate fighter drones from a base outside Las Vegas, but the better he gets at his new job, the more he comes to feel like a machine himself. Hawke’s transformation is both upsetting and scary (you’re not sure what this terminally repressed man is capable of doing), though it doesn’t overshadow the larger horror of soldiers killing people from several thousand miles away. This is less visually inventive than Niccol’s other features, but the bold, confrontational tone commands one’s attention, and the cast–which also includes Bruce Greenwood and Zoe Kravitz—is superb.