Annie (Rose Byrne) lives with her boyfriend Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) and they find themselves in a deep rut, something she sort of know but lacks the chutzpah to do anything about, and something he seems too self-obsessed to realise. Actually, Duncan is obsessed with someone else: Tucker Crowe, an obscure American rocker who disappeared in the middle of a gig sometime in the 90s.
Reverend Ernst Toller (an excellent Ethan Hawke) heads a dwindling congregation at a small Dutch Protestant church in upstate New York. He drinks, far too much, since his marriage collapsed after his son died. Now, Toller mostly keeps to himself; he regrets an affair with the choir director who now won’t leave him at peace, and he seems to struggle keeping his faith.
Ethan Hawke takes on the role of Bruce Kenner, a detective in small town Minnesota who investigates a case of serious child abuse. The victim, Angela (Emma Watson), isn’t quite ready to speak to him as she is hiding out at the local priest’s home. Slowly more details emerge, as Kenner gets help from psychologist Dr Raines (David Thewlis), who uses regression as a tool to unlock hidden memories.
Director Andrew Nicoll once again teams up with Ethan Hawke, just like they did in the excellent Gattaca (1997). And like Gattaca, Good Kill raises questions about the impact of technology developments on society at large through focusing on individuals and their personal struggles. This time in the context of warfare.
Gattaca, like all he very best sic-fi, tells a tale yet manages to deal with broader human issues. It is set in a future where discrimination has now become a science, but it is not based on gender or skin colour but on your genetic code, your DNA. Many children in the society portrayed are genetically designed and have any flaws or imperfections designed out by scientists. The world is now divided between those lucky ones whose parents chose or could afford this route, and the rest, who for whatever reason end up being born naturally.
Time-travel with a twist. Based on a 13-page 1959 short story by Robert Heinlein known as ‘the mother of all time travel paradoxes’, this movie is neither about the special effects nor about the science of time travel, it is about people.