The Kill Team (2019) Poster

(2019)

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Absurd portrayal
random-7077818 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Let me preface my remarks by noting I served three tours in Afghanistan during OEF. I saw Kill Team while visiting my sister who was in grad in Venice last spring. Anyone who has studied the history of crimes committed during war knows there are two general types: a) cases of systematic crimes and b) events of a crime.

These are two very different phenomena. "a" comprises things like Nazi systematical crimes; Japanese systematic war crimes in China, Korea, Philippines,; ISIL/ISIS crimes; systemic crimes by Al Queda and the Taliban in Afghanistan including intentional stoning,burning of thousands of women and intentional mass murder of tens of thousands of villagers; mass murder in the post Yugoslav wars etc.

This is in deep contrast to isolated case of crim e that occur in EVERY, war, eg murder by Australians soldiers in WWII, direct murder of civilians by Union troops in the US Civil war, murder by British soldiers in initial occupied Germany, etc. The latter set do not generally characterize the conduct of the good guys, nor make the war against slavery or against Nazism or against Japaneses fascism, illegitimate wars.

At this point here is another IMDB user review, dated August 5 that is deeply ignorant and itself biased. It states the film represents "what America is, does, and stands for declining rapidly into harsh reality" and that it "shows us Americans the truths that we might not be willing to face, and it also show us the pent-up toxic masculinity and murky grey areas that come with our Army being stationed in hostile areas for long amounts of time."

That is simply not true. This is a case of an OUTLIER sociopath, who for a very short period of time, held non commissioned officer command over a small unit at a forward base and committed a first degree murder of three none combatants. He was fully prosecuted, conflicted and sentences to three life terms and is in prison and not getting out. The young solders in his command received long sentences as well for abetting him and obeying unlawful orders. There was no coverup, there was wide-scale REVULSION within the US Army at these murders -- and full prosecution.

Really the fact that this film is being pitched, and as a result, seen, as emblematic of the war is itself, is itself a crime. Since that is a baldfaced lie, it destroys the utility of the understanding the event and how we have to take care to insure that such events do not occur.

I spent four plus years in Afghanistan. We fought heavily armed personnel who were murdering teachers, we fought against forces that were going through villages and murdering parents who let their daughters become literate, and murdering people who played non religious music. We fought against Al Qaeda forces who were given free reign by Taliban -- both AQ and Taliban committed to putting Afghanistan into the dark ages, and exporting that as well. The vast majority of the people, in the cities and the countryside were deeply victimized by the forces we fought against.

We were not motivated by racism, "toxic masculinity' or any other such BS imagined by filmmakers and actors who never walked in our shoes. This filmmaker already botched the documentary he did a couple of years ago. It started out fine in examining the crime, and then went of into exposition and extrapolation not supported by the facts. this new "dramatized" version is even worse.

By the way I also had to see scores of basic and cringeworthy factual mistakes in procedure, uniforms, equipment and standard military interaction in this film. That is not my main critique, but it is also telling in that it shows that no adviser with military background was used.
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8/10
"Absurd portrayal"-guy didn't even watch the film. Film hits too close to home.
patriotreview19 December 2019
"Let me preface my remarks by noting I served three tours in Afghanistan during OEF. I saw Kill Team while visiting my sister who was in grad in Venice last spring. ..." (random-70778 on 18 Aug 2019) Nopers, it did not screen "last spring" in Venice Film Festival as this guy wants us to believe. The films world premiere was in Tribeca, late April 2019. Venice is in fall, not in spring and after Tribeca, it wasn't even released until way after his review (namely in October 2019). So, what else is he making up? Does he have a sister? Maybe. Was she a grad or ever in Venice? Who knows. Did he ever wear a uniform while actually being part of a military body? Just as likely as not. I've seen my fair share of pretenders, online and even on the streets, to be somewhat vary of people who claim a soldiers expertise in order to make a political point (or some other scam). It seems imdb has become just another platform that has fallen victim to ideology-driven "reviews."

Alas, you just gotta love the irony in this specific case. One important question of the film is that of the bystander, the one who didn't commit a crime and the circumstances that make the simple act, otherwise known as "calling the cops", an act of courage for some, an act of treason for others. Examples of such circumstances are not limited to the military, but in the case of the film, they are. The overreaction in some of the "reviews" (or fake reviews) shows this in a brilliant way: not the criminal or crime is the focus for enragement for the ideologically motivated, but the one who calls it out. This of course speaks for a certain understanding that the crime, in fact, is a crime. Yet, this horrible crime should be something we should not care about. Again this bears the question if when speaking about ISIS/Daesh crimes, those people even bother about the horrid crimes they commit or if they're somewhat happy to found an opposing criminal, who can become the all-explaining excuse for commiting crimes themselves.

The reason the films hit too close to home is not the psychopathic killer that Alex Skarsgård performs in an outrageously convincing way or the (moral) dilemma of Nat Wolff, but exactly because of the peer pressure of the other bystanders. True psychopaths are pretty rare, even in professions with higher than average concentration (lawyers, ceos, soldiers) and the film does well in not trying to imply Sgt. Deeks would be the everyday case. It painfully shows that the damage a single monster in a position of power can inflict, is the result of willing bystanders. This is what makes the film partly painful to watch. The atmosphere of aggression and the expectation to accept rather than report crimes, is much more common than the murderous psychopat and showing this makes the film as painful as necessary.

It reminds us that standing up against evil is often so very hard, because normal people doing nothing and expecting you to do the same, is the most dangerous form of evil.

Watch it, it's surely entertaining, but it's not another hurray-war type of pseudo-warmovie.
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7/10
American audience doesn't want to believe in war crimes commited.
vini_zzz26 April 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Overall this is a consistent war drama movie, exposing the war crimes commited by a group of soldiers during the afghanistan occupation. A young soldier believing in a greater good joins the US military and as his sargent gets killed by an IED a replacement sergeant approaches the things in the squad in a different way, changing the the structure and the patrol methods in interacting with civilians. Shocked by the authoritarism and manipulation of his friends the young soldier exposes the sergeant to the authorities. Don't let the low rating of this movie prevent you from watching it, american audience simply don't want to admitit the crimes commited in wars they were involved into. 7/10
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9/10
A Timely Story of the Fog and Derangement of War
leedesi5610 January 2020
There's a lot of squawking here about the message of this movie, and frankly i don't understand the outrage. As a Navy veteran, I can attest to the fact that most of our servicemen and servicewomen are decent and honorable, but there is sometimes the soldier or sailor who is there for the wrong reasons.

Why would good soldiers defend these indefensible monsters?

In the news these days is Chief Edward Gallagher, an example of such a monster, who has brought dishonor to Seal Team Seven. These heroes have been punished for daring to speak out about Gallagher's crimes, and the Secretary of the Navy has resigned in the aftermath, because a draft-dodging phony of a president sides with that psychotic murderer.

As with the police, the good actors need to expose the bad actors.

As a possible war with Iran looms, people need to see this movie.
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8/10
moral dilemmas with a backdrop of war
lougadou24 October 2019
8.5 rating. Snitches get stitches. I liked this movie because even I felt like I wasn't sure which side I was on at times.

Acting was seriously on point - Nat Wolff was great and I can't wait to see more of him. His presence was really nuanced and subtle but his character held all the emotional weight and you were right there with him, even though the script was sparse for his character...most of what needed to be communicated was done wordlessly and really effectively. Adam Long was equally talented, of course the great Alexander Skarsgard never dissapoints and his character manages to be charming and seductive as always. The acting was really top shelf. I suspect the angsty script and lush characters really inspired the strong performances. It was pretty gripping.

I didn't like it as a "war movie". The setting is in Afghanistan and so you expect action (my mistake), But really the war is there only as a backdrop to flawless character studies. I suspect many people will be falsely drawn to this movie, hoping it is something else when really it's a drama. I look at the poster and feel it could be misleading. There is no action is this movie. Well a bit, but not enough to warrant the plume of smoke on the poster. The marketing may have been misrepresentative here. Question of managing expectations; it just so happens I love good acting, engaging storytelling and Alexander Skarsgard - so I wasn't so dissappointed.

I really loved the jealousy and vying for attention that the characters had for Sargent Deeks (Skarsgard) The whole situation was entirely plausible and it shouldn't have been, which is why the story was so good.

I think the low scores are from people who like action stuff like Hobbs & Shaw and didn't read up to understand what they were about to watch. This is a really solid movie and some of the concepts are still lingering inside me. (the conscience bullet)

I loved it.
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8/10
To be a whistleblower or not
phd_travel26 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Well worth watching. This is a sparse effective but sometimes hard to follow movie about the murder of innocent Afghan civilians.

Alexander Skarsgård is making a name playing villains from BLL to this. His soft spoken menacing soldier is memorable. Nat Wolff looks a bit too clean cut and intellectual type to be the type of person who would enlist. His dilemma is well portrayed and the fact he didn't whistleblow is all the more tragic and realistic.

This movie is short. Wish there'd had been more story shown. Some of the events aren't easy to follow like what led to the exposure. Knowing the facts of the true story helps. The actual atrocities are clearly and effectively shown. Probably some of the more effective scenes of war crimes since Vietnam war movies.

A brave movie to make considering not a lot of people want to see this for entertainment.
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8/10
A riveting biopic of Adam Winfield, a 21-year-old infantryman in Afghanistan
TopDawgCritic22 October 2019
Novice writer and director Dan Krauss makes his full length feature film debut with this film, that was an adaptation of a documentary of the same name, also directed by Krauss.

This film is a riveting biopic of Specialist Adam Winfield, a 21-year-old infantryman in Afghanistan who attempted with the help of his father to alert the military to heinous war crimes his platoon was committing.

It is very well directed and perfectly cast, with exceptional performances by Alexander Skarsgard and Nat Wolff. Cinematography was excellent, as was the score. The pacing was a little slow, but the 87 min runtime flew by with the constant tension and suspense throughout the entire film.

Both a tense moral thriller and a disheartening account of a country's actions abroad, this film is a great watch. I'm shocked with the low rating and some of the political-based comments from wannabe critics, but it's a well deserved 8/10 from me.
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8/10
Tense And Very Well-Made
kjproulx24 October 2019
A24 has been proving themselves as one of the best studios out there today, but there are a few genres that they haven't dabbled much in yet. I would argue that Comedy and War are two genres that they have a slim number of films in, so I was pleasantly surprised when I heard about The Kill Team. On top of that, I love it when a movie can tell such a simple story and keep you incredibly engaged. The Kill Team absolutely fits that description. Gripping and unsettling to watch these events that happen on a daily basis somewhere in the world, here's why I believe The Kill Team is worth your time.

After young Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff) is given his position in the war in Afghanistan, he very quickly has that shaken when his commanding officer is killed. Given a new leader in Sergeant Deeks (Alexander Skarsgård), this team must adapt to a very new practice, one in which Briggman is highly against. Although not a very violent film in nature, the subject matter had me sick to my stomach at times, just thinking about how this type of thing goes on in our daily lives. We truly live in a brutal world and this movie chooses to showcase just why that is.

Written and directed by Dan Krauss, this film is a commanding first outing for him, stating that he is very much capable of handling a full feature. Having not heard this name before the release of The Kill Team, I will be keeping an eye on his work from now on. Although simple in nature, this movie has a fantastic pace. At a mere 88 minutes, the progression of Andrew Briggman is really what stood out to me. If for nothing else, this is an independent war film that puts its characters before the action and that's nothing but commendable in my opinion.

Where this film slightly lost me and may lose others, however, is in its repetitive nature. I found there to be a few too many scenes of Briggman not liking what he's seeing and then trying to do something about it. There were a few story beats that were repeated that felt a little unnecessary. Other than that, this is a very tight, tense, and impactful little film that I was invested in from start to finish. It also didn't hurt that Skarsgård was delivering a great, slimy performance as well.

In the end, The Kill Team may not be as fantastic as I was hoping it would be, but I was still sucked in from the very first scene. As mentioned, this is a very tense film that pulls no punches in terms of telling it how it is. Although I didn't know the true story beforehand, it seemed very truthful in its storytelling. This is a very well-made war film that I definitely recommend checking out. It's now playing in a few select theatres and available to purchase and stream digitally.
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1/10
Trying Too Hard
docbennettstid23 October 2019
Looks as if they forgot to hire any military advisors or get in the same time zone as the truth. Hard pass.
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8/10
That fine and fragile line between right and wrong
carlos-pires4 November 2019
This is a war movie. A war where soldiers chill in their barracks smoking weed, where soldiers have direct comm links to their families any time of day or night, a war where invading soldiers get to shoot civilians in their own miserable homes. This is a movie about cowards armed with state-of-the-art gear who shoot unarmed civilians and feel like heroes. This is a movie about innocence, trust, and how you can quickly lose both when you become "part of something bigger". No Oscar-winning material, but a highly commendable and recommendable movie.
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9/10
5.9 is too low...
stewdmx23 October 2019
The is a good movie. Especially if you know the back story or saw the documentary by the same name. If you liked this movie I suggest reading the book Black Hearts as well.
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Pearl clutching nonsense
VoyagerMN198625 October 2019
Let's deal with numbers and facts: US military personnel in war zones have profoundly lower murder commission rates than same age cohort men in Chicago, Newark NJ, Baltimore, LA and San Francisco suburbs of Compton, Oakland or Stockton, the UK cities of London, Belfast or Manchester -- or Zurich; or dozens EU of EU cities including Paris, Naples, Brussels, etc.

3.1 million different US service members have served in the 6 million conflict zone deployments since 9/11. This includes 1.5 million in Afghanistan. If you took the cohort of 18-30 year-olds in Chicago, who had never been in the military, that Chicago cohort's murder commission rate, extrapolated to three million over 15 years would be in the tens of thousands. Tens of thousands of murders by an equivalent age/gender population cohort. That is just from hanging out in Chicago and not being in an international war zone. Same for a cohort of civilian non military personnel in Karachi Pakistan -- tens of thousands .

Yet it is the US military "creating monsters" when despite being shot at and armed those US service personnel are murdering at rates profoundly lower than Chicago gang bangers or Madrassa students in Pakistan?

This film implies a systematic coverup and a "whistleblower." How is a murder that is immediately reported up the chain, aggressively investigated and prosecuted a "coverup?" Average time served for homicide by a US servicer person is also 80% longer than a homicide committing civilian in the UE or US -- and there were multiple life sentences imposed for these murders in Afghanistan.
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7/10
Look out!
elyanamoradi30 October 2019
By and large it was a really good movie,sadly but really impressive.in my opinion some people don't want to believe this movie is true and base on the true story.... Just watch it as a movie and don't judge it ...
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6/10
Could've, should've been better
brianthomas-3566027 October 2019
I don't want to give any spoilers so I'll just say this movie had the right story, the right actors, the right setting to be something special but the whole film came out shallow & flat imo. It just seemed like a paint by numbers production. The battle or military sequences could've been more broad or involved. They could've included the trials & news coverage or the impact this story had on the country or military but didn't.

When the movie ended & went to credits I said to myself: 'is that it?' Evidently it was & it just wasn't good enough imo.
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9/10
This is an exceptional film!
SmileyMcGrouchpants3 November 2019
One of the best post-"Full Metal Jacket" films, an awful lot of the movie-guy hullabaloo is eschewed here for hands-on experience. What comes up, of course (and it's almost funny to realize it), is how often military service and *military history* comes up in the backgrounds of the families of the guys who enlist. None of the movie-type theatrics are relied on, here, rather than a depiction of a bunch of fellas who simply want to be a part of it - they also know how to rattle and kid each other, and how to get each other's goat. The score is as riveting as the drama and never overstated, the trailer doesn't give much away disproportionately but it *does* maybe swerve to grab your two-minutes'-attention in the hopes you'll show up at the theater. You might be swayed towards frivolity on the filmmaker's part and rule this film out. Don't. It's well worth your while, and while it feels a little funny to say you "like" it, it's one of the best pictures this year along with "The Butterfly Effect," "The Souvenir," and that Buñuel animated picture - it feels like filmed nonfiction, and that is very rare and worthwhile. Highly recommended!
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7/10
A solid 7!
SoundMuzak4 November 2019
Current rating below 7 are wrong and unfair for me. This movie is good, is well acted and paced. I recommend it.
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7/10
Stop here if you like a good war movie that makes you think. Definitely a 7 !!!
antmacs22 January 2020
The topic has been tackled before with the likes of Charlie Sheen and Michael J. Fox covering the main character's role. This time the narrative is more realistic and, frankly, more believable regarding how a young man thrown in the midst of such a scenario could react. As pointed every time before, it all boils down to whether you betray the unquestionable loyalty the pack (you want to be a part of) expects from you, or ignore your conscience. This time the latter choice is also backed by the seemingly incontrovertible logic the Sergent tries to drill into our guy's mind - when it tells him that the US Constitution considers guilty of Treason whoever gives aid or comfort to an enemy, a crime punishable by death (Art.III Sec.3 is real, even though it might be argued that Treason doesn't apply to citizens of another Country, but that's beyond this review).

As the story rolls on, the atmosphere and characters development are supported by pretty good acting and cinematography. Where the movie falls short, imho, is in devoting a bit more time to depict the kind of mental and, possibly, physical abuse a young guy in that situation probably has to endure. That would put his actions and the whole unfolding of the story in a more complete perspective, giving the viewer a better chance to identify himself with the character and decide whether to be more or less sympathetic.

In any case, good food for thought and definitely recommended viewing.
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10/10
great movie
jhangirh24 October 2019
Shows the reality of the American invasion of Afghanistan. butt hurt military guys dont like the truth being told.
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8/10
What are people watching
hifiman-6227013 August 2020
This film was very powerful. Very tense. And superbly acted all round. Based on actual events . It really is a lean. Powerful quite emotional all around movie. Absolutely recommend this movie regardless of your political views.
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9/10
Face Reality
westsideschl19 February 2020
Even though 95% of military personnel work on bases pushing paper; going to the commissary; working out in the base gym the one's who struggled through high school get the grunt risk filled assignments. They are not even near perfect which is why they end up w/all the risks so it's human inevitable that stress induced mistakes will be made, and some get high from the action even w/the consequences. This movie tells that part of the story we don't want to admit exists in all militaries, and through history.
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7/10
The truth can be horrifying !
Lewis_Heather78728 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Its small lesser know stories like these that can reassure you that there are real hero's out there standing up for what is right no matter the adversity!! I had never heard of this story before even though it only happened 10 or so years ago. However I suppose that the victors / "the good guys" write history and that is where cover-ups can be achieved by people that want all the glory but don't want all of the truth to come out! Unfortunately they don't count on incredibly brave and special individuals to stand up and say NO!

The abuse of power that these soldiers and their staff sergeant carried out is appalling. Killing innocent and unarmed civilians for their own entertainment is the definition of abuse of power. The fact that after the events they celebrate back at their base as if their favourite sports team has just won, makes me sick! However it only takes one...........one person to burst the bubble and unravel the truth. Following the young recruit as he joins the unit and starts to go out out missions, realises that something doesn't add up. Then the moment of realisation hits him and he has to make the biggest decision of his life, what side of history does he want to be on? Its either turn a blind eye and join in, or stand up and say NO , no matter the consequences. Unfortunately with him not going along with the killing means that he has to witness and endure more of the torture. It culminates in him having to take part in a shooting of an innocent man just so he can stay out of the firing line of suspicion that he is the rat in the unit. The fact that the young recruit got 3 years in prison is hard to judge whether that is fair or not?? What is not hard to judge is the fact that the staff sergeant got life in prison.......justice served.

Alexander Skarsgard and Nat Wolf are both in particular extremely good in the film, I am quite surprised with this being an A24 production that their performances aren't getting more award buzz..........especially for Skarsgard who is haunting in his portrayal of the staff sergeant. Even when his character is not on screen his presence is definitely felt...........superb!!! Nat Wolf on the other hand is a very likeable guy so it is very easy to route for him in the film............even though it would be difficult not too. Definitely got me interested in what he does next!

Overall its 75% out of 100 it is very very close to being 80% but for one good reason. The film has everything , good direction, acting, story, pacing.............the only thing missing for me was more production to the film and would love to have seen some real news coverage of the real incident, maybe some court room reenactments??? At 1hr 30 mins the film doesn't seem fully finished if I'm being honest, got to be a few things were cut out here and there............its 3/4 of the way there. However 3/4 its not bad going..........extremely uncomfortable psychological horror that is called the truth!
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1/10
another liberal military hit piece
bigweenerlolweener22 October 2019
Sad that skarsgard was in this the unit was in the right
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A battle of morality
Gordon-1111 November 2019
This film tells the story of a young soldier who battles with himself on whether to follow the dubious orders of his sergeant.

The story is well told, as it highlights the battles of the young soldier. The intimidation by the sergeant is portrayed effectively, making the young soldier crack and fear for his own safety. It is very sad that the young soldier had to endure such an ordeal.
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2/10
Believe the 1 and 2 star reviews
omendata20 November 2019
Ok so this is obviously another hatchet job on our military be it USA or UK it seems that libertard'ism although in the minority seems to have a stranglehold on the movie industry. Personally I could not care less but enjoy a decent movie which unfortunately this is not.

It is just plain boring; I mean who in their right minds directs this sort of stuff. Based on a true story although it seems to have taken a lot of liberties with what actually happened for dramatic effect but produced no real drama. The story meanders from one scene to another; there is no excitement or suspense or seemingly any semblance of continuity but merely an exercise in political correctness.

I just watched the superb new Vietnam war movie Danger Close 2019 before this one and it was superb compared to this lamentable and overtly political ordure which is becoming so tedious now. I have utmost respect for the army having come from an Army family myself and I hate to see our boys and your boys traduced like this. It was never like this in previous wars; in war anything goes in the past, how about showing some of the atrocities that the enemy uses like burning people in cages but no the elite for some reason want to make everyone feel guilty about our own.

For me personally i find the persecution of our army a sickness and insult to each and every serving member of the forces and i can bet any war veteran watching this ordure will be angry as hell.

No one really knows how war affects you unless you have gone through the fear, sheer terror and psychological pain of being involved in it and to persecute our brave servicemen when they have gone to war against the real evil that exists on earth - pathetic just pathetic!
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5/10
AR 670-1
hls216 August 2019
Ch. 3-2a(2)(b)

That mustache ain't regulation.

See figure 3-1.
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