In the documentary The Kill Team, Oscar-nominated director Dan Krauss tells the story of a young U.S. soldier who attempted to prevent the war crimes being committed by his platoon and was instead charged with those crimes. Without resorting to over-the-top propaganda, The Kill Team follows whistleblower Adam Winfield during his trial and simultaneously tells the story of the events that led up to that trial. Krauss uses footage taken by soldiers in Afghanistan to paint the landscape where it was possible for soldiers to kill Afghani civilians, plant guns on them, and call it a win for America.
Krauss encourages his subjects, who include Winfield as well as two soldiers who participated in murdering Afghani civilians, to speak freely.
"When I interview people, I try not to hold a list of question; I try not to make it seem like anything I'm doing is routine. Instead of going down a list of questions, I hear what [people] are saying and then I respond to it in a way that is conversational," Krauss said. "It is sort of a disarming process."
This technique makes the film personal, allowing Winfield to be a human being instead of transforming him into a vessel to promote a political agenda, as a large portion of war documentaries do. Where most of these documentaries flub is with obvious editing and dramatic music that trick the viewer into feeling something. Krauss lets the story breathe. The score, by composer Justin Melland, is subtle and reflects the mood without directing it.
The Kill Team is a well-made documentary that is honest, poignant, and will shift the way people view the United States military. - Rachel Finley
A regular at Lenox Coffee in Harlem, Ms. Finley is a contributor toIndie Flava magazine. Currently a Macaulay Honors College attendee (CCNY), she’s a lover of movies that make her re-evaluate her life decisions.