Thus far, we have seen Ethan Hawke in both action scenarios as well as in the quiet kind of character study. In 'good kill' we see a combination of both, which greatly helps bringing the key message of the film across. Hawke plays a drone pilot, whose psychological coping ressources we see tremendously strained by the challenges his job poses on him; killing people by remote control, thousands of miles away.
The film points at the critical side effects of this kind of war fare: Yes, it is cheaper. But the pilots cannot change a decision as easily, if e.g. all of a sudden, women and children walk into the critical zone. The soldiers feel alienated from their job, sitting in an air-conditioned container, versus being at the place of action. And, as we learn from the reflected conversations that director and studio were brave enough to let their film's characters have: The use of drones changes the relationship between the US military and its enemies. Actual events of islamist revenche attacks that occurred as a result of the growing use of drones are mentioned and one finds oneself thinking multiple times throughout the film: ''Man, I remember, there was something in the news like last year or so...I better watch this stuff more closely in the future''.
Overall, the film is sucessful at its attempt to elevate the discourse on the matter. If it is true that movies are the new evening news, 'good kill' makes for an excellent intro lesson on the matter of drone warfare and its effect on both international political relations as well as the individual coping of the people involved in this branch of the military.
The story plot around Hawke's character Major Tommy Egan, this has to be said though, is not particularly new or unusually memorable - it is a rather common 'hero going through personal challenges'- plot that serves as a vehicle to transport information on the drone topic to the audience. However, this should not be thought of as too bad of a flaw: Both the script and the photography department did a good job on dissecting and breaking down the issue so that the result is an enjoyable watch, that creates an impression and an informational value beyond the ca. 100 minutes of watching.