One does not simply pilot a drone...

Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.

The most patriotic Sheffielder in the land - Sean Bean - returns to our homes, playing an American UAV operator in the war on terror; with Drone, the latest film from Canadian director Jason Bourque.

Pakistan - A family go about their day, eating breakfast together whilst ensuing in the usual parental bickering. With breakfast done, the father gets ready to go out, proceeding to his vehicle in the busy street, only for a sudden blast to engulf the area and killing all in the vicinity.

Washington - In a suburban neighbourhood wakes Neil Wistin (Sean Bean), his wife Ellen (Mary McCormack) and their distant teenage son Shane (Maxwell Haynes), all sullen after the recent loss of Neilís father.

Not all is as it seems with the Wistin family mind you. With Neil proceeding to work, arriving at a secret CIA location, there he operates an unmanned drone, killing suspected militants and those in the radius around them with seemingly mere indifference. But Neil isnít the only one, with his wife Ellen also holding a secret, one of infidelity.

Their secrets have not gone unnoticed though, as a man (Imir played by Patrick Sabongui) carrying a briefcase, seems to be suspiciously following the family, only to appear at their doorstep with unforeseen intentions at the end of the day.

If thereís one thing to be said about Sean Bean - aside from the fact he dies in practically all of his movies - is that he can act his arse off, and Drone is no different in that aspect.

Playing a subdued - one could even call Neil a weak - character, whose emotional state isnít present, instead left to fester beneath the surface - almost drone-like - is a difficult task, and whilst the little said about Sean Beanís fluctuating American accent the better, his performance remains a joy to watch unfold on screen. Likewise Patrick Sabongui as Imir strikes you as being immediately queer from the get go, with the audience unsure of how to take his strange peculiarities, whether he's truly a bad guy, and what exactly his intentions for the Wistin family are.

Itís a shame then, that the slowburn setup whilst intriguing, instantly evokes a final act that shoots Drone down like a lead balloon. Drone feels entirely like an opening act, as we get to know the Wistin family, through a day of their grief and the secrets they are hiding from one another; but once Imir shows up on the doorstep, Drone steps into its final act and ends quickly. In essence Drone is missing a second act, to ratchet up that tension and to make its conclusion all the more impactful.

Drone (Sean Bean, Patrick Sabongui, Mary McCormack, Maxwell Haynes, Patrick Sabongui and Joel David Moore)

On Crash Landed I regular evoke the need for films to cut down their runtime - feeling bloated and minimising their overall impact - Drone is the opposite in that sense, a portion felt entirely missing.

The notion of collateral murder via airstrikes isnít entirely new to the cinematic front either, with 2015ís Eye in the Sky handling the morality of the situation much better. And whilst Drone does indeed start to create some political underpinnings through its fantastical meeting, it sadly doesnít lead to much. In fact, Drone works much better as a piece on grief, of two families on the opposite ends of the spectrum coping with their recent loss.

Unfortunately a second act is not the only thing missing from Drone.

Alas the dreaded 'no special features' surprise rears its head once again, making the home release of Drone feel entirely worthless when given the option to stream the film. And itís a shame too - as whilst any moral message is a bit of a write off - thereís some beautiful moments of cinematography within Drone, a great use of imagery and even a particular long take at its climax that I would have loved the director to shed more light upon. Sadly itís not to be.

Whilst Sean Bean evokes his usual terrific performance, Drone is unfortunately absent a piece of the pie; feeling like a mere introduction with a climax, rather than fully fleshed out feature film.

There is some nice cinematography present within Drone mind you, but nothing that would offset a film which you should catch on demand, especially with no special features present giving you a reason to own it.

A DVD review copy of Drone was provided by the distributor for review purposes.

  • Review by
    David Robinson

    Twitter: @5ypher

    Posted on
    3rd July 2017

  • 2 Out of 5 Stars
  • Doesn't feel like a full feature film

    Ethical message goes nowhere

    No special features

  • Sean Bean

    Cinematography

    Use of imagery

Film Info

Drone Drone
Rating: 15
Release Date: 3rd July
Runtime: 1 hr 31 min
Director: Jason Bourque
Starring: Sean Bean, Patrick Sabongui, Mary McCormack, Maxwell Haynes, Patrick Sabongui & Joel David Moore

  • Eye in the Sky
  • Good Kill

No, there's multiple scenes of murder and death.