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08th May 2017

Netflix have added a remarkable documentary about US drone warfare

Paul Moore

“Scary, potent and powerful.” 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

If you saw the Norwegian documentary Drone or Eye in the Sky, you’ll know that there’s a chilling and unnerving detachment that’s associated with modern warfare.

As we know, death from above can be delivered by a soldier with a computer from half the world away but in Sonia Kennebeck superb directorial debut, National Bird, she undertakes a scathing and clearly delineated expose on the use of drone warfare.

In order do do this, she focuses on the stories of three whistle-blowers while intercutting their stories with some truly harrowing footage, both of US-approved military strikes and surveillance footage that’s obtained from domestic locations.

Essentially, drones could very easily be used against the people that they aim to protect.

As mentioned previously, at the heart of National Bird are the three whistle-blowers.

Heather is a former combat vet and drone pilot who struggles with severe and crippling PTSD. Daniel is a former government contractor and signals intelligence analyst who is having serious issues connecting and creating close ties with anyone in his life. Lisa was a technical sergeant who’s haunted by the death, destruction and bloodshed that her work entails.

All three people are desperate to expose the program that they’ve participated in – the moment when Lisa meets the survivors of a 2010 American airstrike in Afghanistan that killed 23 people is particularly powerful – and some of the revelations are equal parts disturbing, shocking and heartbreaking.

There’s also a prevailing sense that of paranoia from the US  military-industrial complex is desperately guarding these secrets about drone warfare in the hope that they don’t come out -the whistle-blowers still have to abide by the 1917 Espionage Act but Daniel’s segments are extremely interesting.

The film currently has an 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Variety stated that it provides a “chilling testimony from those three veterans, each of whom helped to wage war from behind consoles half a world away, which adds its voice to mounting criticism of the U.S. drone program.”

The New York Times have called National Bird “an elegantly unsettling documentary about the United States’ reliance on aerial combat drones” while the LA Times defined it as “powerful cinematic journalism.”

Take a look.

Clip via – Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films