Following a security breach in the CIA records, names of employees and contracts working for the military are potentially in the hands of terrorists who can now act in taking revenge of those employees directly for their involvement in US military operations. Sean Bean stars as a government contractor who gets embroiled in this said in this dilemma when one of these victims of American aggression turned terrorist (Patrick Sabongui) finds his way into his home and puts the fate of his family at stake.
Writing this synopsis above feels like a bit of a spoiler, though in essence it isn’t because the actual DVD box pretty much says this exact thing. The problem is that this situation only materialises for its characters in the last 30 minutes of the film, by which time you’ve completely lost interest in the film which seems intent on not telling the story it supposedly set out to tell. The plot is a strong one, but the film spends far too much time on other details that don’t make a difference to its outcome and robs the film of any tension it should otherwise have held.
Drone is a movie that the producers clearly didn’t know what to do with and the final plot device seems more like a shoehorned idea than something that was well thought out. The film starts off with intensity and seems to set the movie up for a much bigger play on military espionage and drama, but after its pulsating opening, it then shifts focus to Neil Wiston (Bean) and his family and gets lost in developing the characters and its situation as the film slows to a crawl before suddenly picking up the pace and closing out its story in the space of 10 minutes.
This should be a gripping thriller, but the product feels more like an exercise in character development. That character development includes a story about the death of Wiston’s father, his struggles with writing a eulogy, an affair in the marriage and the son’s unknown close-relationship with his grandfather. Character development is not always a bad thing, but this films spends far too much time on it and then doesn’t use much of it for any conceivable reason.
It’s a story that really has little going for it, though you wouldn’t be able to tell from the direction by Jason Bourque who does a superb job in shooting some beautiful scenes that are worth so much more than what this film delivers on. Much of his camera work feels like it’s part of a bigger and tenser film and feels out of place with a film that doesn’t quite match that style.
It’s hard to know where the fault with that lies and whether it’s the director just not knowing what to do with the script and so proceeding to just add style instead or if the editor and producer had another idea entirely in slowing the film down so much. At the end of the day, the fault has to lie with the director I guess, but it does feel harsh considering for most of the movie that is the film’s only strong suit.
As for the characters. Much like the shoddy story, the characters are just not worth investing in. The film from is early stages makes you dislike Bean’s character and it’s hard to feel sympathy when your protagonist is probably worse than its antagonist. He lacks sincerity, is clearly disconnected from his family and shoots missiles at people for a living. He is painted as a bad person and the film fails to redeem him through its narrative. The same goes for wife Ellen (Mary McCormack) who the film also portrays as a bad wife and you struggle to connect with her as a result. The only person with any moral substance in this film is their son (Maxwell Haynes), but his story arc doesn’t add any value to the greater narrative.
Drone is a movie that should offer up more, but ends up boring you instead. Through some horrendously slow pacing, wasteful story arcs and unlikable characters, you are going to wind up feeling like you wasted your time watching it.
Last Updated: February 15, 2018