It’s a long, long time since Andrew Niccol came up with the goods: the filmmaker broke through in the 1990s as the screenwriter of “The Truman Show” and director of the excellent “Gattaca,” but has struggled to return to form, with films like “Lord Of War,” “S1mone,” “In Time” and “The Host” ranging from being flawed to being essentially unwatchable. But the New Zealander was back this year with a modest, highly topical project, “The Good Kill,” which has been screening at Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. While the film has proved a little divisive, most seem to concur that it’s a comeback for Niccol.
The film reteams Niccol with regular collaborator Ethan Hawke, who gives what our Venice review called “one of his best performances” as a former pilot-turned-drone operator who becomes increasingly haunted by his actions. It’s a film that we called a “sober, nuanced and compelling” war picture (at least until its final five minutes) and now you can take a look at the first clip from the film.
The brief snippet features Hawke and “Mad Men” star January Jones, who plays his wife, and demonstrates how Niccol arrestingly intercuts drone footage in with the pair’s conversation. Despite numerous misfires, we’ve been rooting for the filmmaker to get back on track, and this certainly looks roughly a hundred thousand times better than “The Host.” Take a look at the clip below, and we’ll let you know when “The Good Kill” picks up U.S. distribution.