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Good Kill by Christophe Beck (Review)

posted May 29, 2015, 4:46 PM by Kaya Savas

Director Andrew Niccol hasn’t been known to stick with a composer even though he had Antonio Pinto score two of his films. For Good Kill we have Christophe Beck behind the music, and the result is an effective and very subtle scoring effort. Good Kill focuses on a pilot whose job now is to man drones from a base in Las Vegas. He as an internal struggle with killing enemies like they were bad guys in a video game from the safety of his home. The score by Beck does an admirable job echoing the internal struggle even if it's not completely original.

The score for Good Kill takes a much more internal and reflective approach. Beck focuses on using tones and atmospheric strings that quietly echo the emotional and existential crisis of our main character. The music can be a bit shapeless at times, but when the melodies peek through we do get moments of tension that are then juxtaposed with reflective moments of tranquility. It’s a nice nuanced switch between drone warfare and home life. There is a nice shimmering theme that makes an appearance throughout those moments of tranquil reflection, and to me that was the anchoring point of the score. Especially when we close out with it. The tension stuff that’s there is there because it needs to be. This is a quiet war movie, so it couldn’t be too loud or bold. But it also makes it pretty standard and not very tense. I can’t imagine it was easy trying to score warfare seen through a computer screen, which is why the character-based pieces are much more interesting.

Good Kill is a fine examination of drone warfare and the moral and psychological dilemma it puts on soldiers who are instructed to kill other human beings with the click of a button from a desk. The score is low-key and subtle in its approach with a pretty decent theme at the heart of it. The suspense writing isn’t all that effective, but it's there because it needs to be. Beck provides some interesting internal and reflective scoring here that is well worth a listen.