Utterly dull thriller “Drone” tries to raise ethical and moral questions about modern warfare, but the audience can only dwell on the illogical plot and unsympathetic characters — if they can engage at all. The otherwise talented cast and the controversial issue itself deserve far better treatment than this film can provide.
“Drone” begins in Miranshah, Pakistan, when a remote-delivered weapon explodes in the quiet of the small town, shown in saturated color and beautiful aerial cinematography from Graham and Nelson Talbot. Exactly a year later, CIA contractor Neil (Sean Bean, sporting a muddled American accent) has hidden his work as a drone pilot from his wife (a flat Mary McCormack) and son.
Strangely, Neil invites mysterious Pakistani man Imir (Patrick Sabongui) to dinner after the stranger appears on their doorstep. As the meal is served and the wine flows, Neil’s secrets and Imir’s true purpose are revealed to the family.
The unsubtle screenplay from Paul A. Birkett and director Jason Bourque both plods and struggles to fill a mere 91 minutes, with the only drama arising in the film’s final moments. The plot points in “Drone” are exercises in extremes, either entirely predictable or wholly unbelievable. The thinly sketched characters might earn more sympathy if we knew more about them, but the only knowledge we have actively distances the audience from them — and from the movie as a whole.
Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills