GOOD KILL (2014) features Ethan Hawke as a Las Vegas based drone pilot plagued with moral dilemmas regarding the ethics of his duty. Between the high-tech military base scenes, in which the drone piloting takes place, and the main characters pensively drifting around Las Vegas, a number of Brands get significant exposure.
This article contains moderate spoilers about sequences that occur in the movie, but not about the actual story.
All screenshots from GOOD KILL (2014) come from the official trailers and are the property of IFC Films.
The 6 most visible Brands in GOOD KILL (2014) are divided between those we see in Ethan Hawke’s work place and those in his civilian life.
David Clark headphones, ViewSonic monitors and an AT&T telephone appear within the drone piloting trailer, where much of the movie’s drama occurs. When not on duty, the main character is usually seen either driving his 1967 Pontiac or sipping on a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. He indulges in some stronger liquor at times but does so with the fictional Sinovia vodka, rather than a real Brand. Finally, we often see Hawke wearing a pair of Randolph Engineering Aviator sunglasses.
#1 David Clark
David Clark headsets are worn throughout GOOD KILL (2014) by all of the main military characters while carrying out drone missions. The Brand is portrayed as professional and associated with the military, communication and (virtual) aviation.
This portrayal is in line with recent appearances by David Clarke in EXPENDABLES 3 (2014), GODZILLA (2014), CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014) and WALK OF SHAME (2014). In all of these instances, the Brand was used professionally in an aviation and/or military context.
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#2 Randolph Engineering
Whether on his way to work or while barbequing in his back yard, Ethan Hawk’s character often wears a pair of Randolph Engineering sunglasses in the blazing Las Vegas sunshine.
By being worn on the military base paired with a flight suit, the Brand is portrayed as being professional and associated with the military. However, the same shades are worn by Hawke at home or when cruising through the desert in his Pontiac, creating a more casual portrayal as well as an association with driving.
Randolph Engineering has historically associated itself with military aviation and is actually the official sunglasses provider to the US Army, Navy and Air Force.
The choice of Randolph Engineering follows Jason Statham wearing the exact same model in his latest movie, WILD CARD (2015). Interestingly, this movie was also both based in Las Vegas and featured many lone driving shots.
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Much of the action in GOOD KILL (2014) takes place on the other side of the world and, as such, is shown through monitors. The monitors that appear are all from ViewSonic. The Brand gets over a minute of screen time, much of it close-up or obvious shots in which the ViewSonic name is clearly visible.
Much like David Clarke, ViewSonic is portrayed as professional while being used in a military context. Professionally used monitors are usually found to be more mainstream Brands such as Dell or HP. While ViewSonic is a more unusual Brand, it was recently in THE NOVEMBER MAN (2014) and in the I’M READY (2013) music video by AJR.
Ethan Hawke’s car is a 1967 Pontiac Firebird and is seen throughout the movie. He drives it to work at the military base, along desert roads when he needs to reflect and down the Las Vegas strip a couple of times. The car gets almost 3 minutes of screen time and the Pontiac name is seen briefly at the beginning of the film.
Unfortunately, it is at the wheel of his Pontiac that the main character is often seen drunk driving and in which he is also pulled over for speeding.
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During the movie, a government agency partakes in the drone mission and does so via teleconferencing. This is done with an AT&T 1040 telephone, which becomes representative of the character on the other end of the line, especially as he is never seen in person. As such, the phone is extensively shown in close-ups, even though the AT&T logo or name is never seen.
AT&T is hence shown as being a professional Brand used by the military, and has its speaker capabilities well showcased.
#6 Pabst Blue Ribbon
Alcohol is a major theme of GOOD KILL, and while the vodka that Hawke drinks is a fictitious Brand, all the beer is Pabst Blue Ribbon. It is drunk by Ethan Hawke, January Jones and Michael Sheets. This occurs casually at home, during a friendly barbeque and in a Las Vegas strip club.
Despite the movie’s alcoholism theme, Pabst is kept away from being associated with it. Rather, it is associated with relaxation after a long day of work or socializing over the weekend with friends.
Pabst Blue Ribbon is not as common in entertainment as Budweiser, Bud Light or Corona. However, it has recently appeared in such movies as SABOTAGE (2014) and Oscar-nominated WHIPLASH (2014), the music videos for WHITE WALLS (2013) by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and WHERE IT’S AT (2014) by Dustin Lynch and even in the latest season of SOUTH PARK.
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Although none of them appeared nearly as visibly as the 6 above, many other Brands appeared in GOOD KILL (2014):
– Toyota and Renault appeared in the form of terrorist vehicles which were destroyed by drone strikes.
– Red Bull cans are shown after long sessions in the drone control trailers.
– Microsoft’s Xbox, Nintendo’s Wii and Sony PlayStation are all mentioned in a speech in which the similarities between drone piloting and video games are acknowledged. Later, an Xbox controller is seen.
– As the movie takes place around Las Vegas, many hotel & casino resorts get some background screen time. These include Paris, Aria, Planet Hollywood, The Cosmopolitan, Bally’s, Palazzo, Wynn, Treasure Island and the MGM Grand.
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