by Tim Birkbeck
Secrets. Everyone has them, whether it be big or small, a little white lie or something which can be pretty incriminating, we all have something we wouldn’t dream of telling anyone one.
In a nut shell this is the premise of Jason Bourque’s film Drone.
The Wistin family, Neil (Sean Bean), his wife Ellen (Mary McCormack) and their 16-year-old-son Shane (Maxwell Haynes) are living out the perfect suburban archetypal American dream. However, each of them is keeping something from one-an-other, but it is Neil’s secret which could bring the consequences. Neil is a civilian contractor for the military, who is responsible for flying Drone’s and firing hell fire missiles to take out the “enemy”. This concept is introduced to the audience very early one, but it isn’t really re-introduced until the third act of the film.
Instead the film plays on the family dynamic, a cheating wife, a teenager and a man trying to write the eulogy for his dads funeral. But things are interrupted when Neil spots a stranger in his front garden. That stranger is Imir Shaw (Patrick Sabongui). We are introduced to Shaw earlier on in a scene in the park where he is watching families play, when is is confronted by a man – who lets be frank is just straight up racist – saying “in this country we don’t like strangers looking at our kids, especially strangers like you,” a line I felt was completely unnecessary. This is the theme setter for me, just the underlining feeling of sly lines of casual racism took me completely out of the moment.
But back the the Wistin families “big secret” it takes a whole hour in a 90 minute film to actually get any semblance of what is Mr Shaw’s objective when he reveals that one of the missiles fired by Neil killed his wife and daughter as “collateral damage”.
Finally the tension of the film picks up, but when Mr Shaw claims he has a bomb and the Wistin family are all cowering around the dining table the exaggerated acting of Haynes again takes the viewer out of the moment, and kills off any sort of atmosphere which was previously set.
The icing on the cake comes in the very last scene, when Neil realises his wrong doings and you hear a voice over say “whistle blowers like Wistin are what put this country in danger” this is either two fingers up to the American government or it is one of the most patriotic endings to a film I have seen in a long time. Either way it leaves a queasy feeling in your stomach, and unfortunately even Sean Bean’s incredible talents aren’t enough to carry Drone.
Dir: Jason Bourque
Scr: Paul A. Birkett and Jason Bourque
Starring: Sean Bean,Patrick Sabongui, Mary McCormack, Maxwell Haynes and Joel David Moore
Prd: Sefton Fincham and Ken Frith
Music: Michael Neilson
Run time: 91 minutes
Drone is out now now Blu-Ray and DVD