The Kill Team Review – War Drama Delivers with Strong Character Driven Performances

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The Kill Team, from A24 Films, Nostromo Pictures and Temple Hill Entertainment, presents the true story of a young private on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan who becomes unwittingly involved in the murders of civilians.

Directed and written by Dan Krauss, The Kill Team stars Alexendar Skarsgard, Nat Wolff, Adam Long, Jonathan Whitesell, Brian Marc, Osy Ikhile, Rob Morrow, Anna Francolini, Oliver Ritchie, Tunji Kasim, Zachary Kasim, and Andreas Karras.


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The film opens with the sounds of military gunfire, the thick whirl whips of a helicopter, sounds of firefights, and slowly fades to the less intense sounds of an automatic yard sprinkler and the voice over a young man, acting out his belief if what this TOD will become. Skateboard in hand pointed as a weapon he moves swiftly around his room, quietly barking commands to imaginary locals.

Soon the prep work is done. Andrew Briggman, played by Nat Wolff and his dad, William, played by Rob Morrow, have a moment. Even without being said, the implication of this father-son moment is clear, “come back home and don’t be a hero.”

The next scene Briggman is walking through an airport in full military fatigues when a stranger in uniform salutes him. Immediately he walks a little taller, more pride in his step and confidence in his decision.

Our next scene Briggman and his platoon led by Sergeant Wallace, played by Tunji Kasim, are instructed to perform relationship building with the locals in order to gather DNA and photographic evidence. Rayburn, played by Adam Long, Marquez, played by Brian Marc, Weppler played by Osy Ikhile, are all on stand around duty, with the new man Briggman performing body pat downs. A small uprising from a local ends up with him on his back in the dust.


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Sergeant Wallace steps in to control the squad. Explaining to Rayburn his job is relationship building, stand here, remove the terminator glasses, and wave at the local village children who are watching. He explains he is going to give them candy as he says, “because he is a prince.” As he steps closer to the kids an IED explodes killing him.

Three weeks later Sergeant Deeks, played by Alexander Skarsgard, arrives. He rides in on the standing on the outside step of the helicopter and in a quiet, patient, loving tone he explains to his new team what life will be under his leadership.

He also explains the mission, cell phone triggered IED’s are everywhere and in the past 12 months have killed 24 US soldiers. Deeks, who has seen battle in Iran and Afghanistan believes in his country’s mission through his filter of interpretation.

Deeks makes life under his watch very clear. He explains life in the family stays with the family. Tactics used to illicit confessions or other information may seem harsh and even illegal or unnecessary and in the middle of battle or in the determination of the moment for the safety of the team, and the life of each man and by extension their families stateside, decisions have to be made.

For Briggman the truth of war was only bouncing around his bedroom with a skateboard and an imaginary enemy, as reality sets in, buddies with their legs blown off, dead, simply because of the uniform and nationality grey's the line between the clear illegalities stateside and needed leverage in the desert.


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Many when tested find the lines blurred and the need to end the madness becomes choices which save US lives at the expense of the enemy.

As the story is true, based on the account of Private Adam Winfield, the murders of local civilians, many of whom may have been guilty of something and many who simply were guilty by association, by nationality, location, race, ethnicity. In the end the lines separating guilty blurred.

The Kill Team is an exceptional contemporary war drama with Alexander Skarsgard delivering a notable performance. His adaptation of Sargent Deeks, which may be as he was in life, presented someone whom wanted to serve. He was calm in battle, a confident with his men, gave them gifts to show his dedication to their well being and he believed life a father, when they needed to be punished, he made it clear that he would deliver than as it was needed.


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The men who make up the platoon all deliver strong military performances. It is clear war polarizes the squad with those attempting to maintain some level of morality and others lost to complete lawlessness. Even the locals such as the Afghan prisoner of war played by Andreas Karras, deliver these monumental performances, with as in this case, no words.

The Kill Team is an authenticate portrayal of the war that the media and Washington would prefer the public doesn’t see. Flag draped coffins are one thing, senseless killing of civilians which could prevent some of those caskets from returning are another.

The Kill Team opens October 25, 2019.

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