Directed by Rick Rosenthal
Lieutenant Sue Lawson starts her first day of Air Force drone plane control and surveillance. Keeping a watchful eye on the suspected location in the Middle East for Al-Qaeda terrorist Mahmoud Khalil, Sue is accompanied by seasoned pilot, Airman Jack Bowles. Jack knows that not everyone is cut out to do the job and fears Sue may be one of them. Will her emotions get in the way of assassinating a potential threat to innocent lives?
DRONES is a suspenseful, thought-provoking thriller that focuses on the moral, political and logical acts involved in warfare, and in this particular instance, drone warfare. Sat in the comfort of a cabin in the desert somewhere in the USA, these two soldiers are ordered to identify, target and assassinate an Al-Qaeda terrorist named Mahmoud Khalil. Once he’s sighted, all they need to do is push a red button and it’s “bye bye, Mahmoud”. However, when push comes to shove, General’s daughter Sue begins to question the morality of the act conisdering civilian lives are also in danger of their actions and whether the intel they have on Mahmoud is factually correct. Unfolding in real time, DRONES takes the viewer along the journey with Sue and Jack, as they both must decide whether to push the button or not, and deal with the consequences.
For a film that essentially focuses on two members of the air force for the duration of the film, with the exception of a couple of minor characters who are introduced, DRONES is actually quite a gripping watch. The issues raised in the movie will have you questioning yourself on what you would do if in the same position as Sue and Jack and whether we should always believe what we are told or instructed, even if those people are those who hold position of power.
Eloise Mumford stars as the pilot school dropout who is now resigned to work as a drone plane co-controller. From the initial scenes, it’s clear that Sue is quite a physical character who’s not afraid of hard graft and can hold her own with men. Her serious attitude towards her work, no doubt to live up to her father, General Lawson’s expectations. Her rank is even superior than that of seasoned drone plane pilot Jack, who attempts to ease her in to her first day on the job. Matt O’Leary gives a great performance as Jack and his look for the character reminds me a lot of Goose from Top Gun. His atttitude towards Sue is laid back though it’s clear he thinks she’ll be here today, gone tomorrow, without a stomach for the job they have to do. Though he takes pride in his work, he can’t help but resort to playing videogames on the job to ‘sharpen’ his real skills when the opportunity calls for it.
DRONES is quite a character-driven piece and fortunately the two leads bounce off another well and are enjoyable to watch. A decent script that challenges the viewer as well as the characters makes this film a really interesting watch that doesn’t outstay its welcome at 1 hour and 11 minutes.