To mix two aphorisms: war is hell, and hell is other people. When Spc. Adam Winfield headed to Afghanistan in 2009 with his Army platoon, he anticipated dodging bullets and enduring roadside bombings. He did not expect long, dull stretches of inactivity punctuated by trips into dusty villages to "ask old dudes questions." Having grown up with specific ideas about honor and patriotism learned from his father, a Marine, he would never have guessed that his fellow soldiers would decide to inject a little excitement into their routine by murdering Afghan civilians. Bay Area-based filmmaker Dan Krauss (The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club, Golden Gate Award winner, SFIFF 2005) investigates the chilling story of the so-called "Kill Team," focusing on Winfield as the haunted man as he prepares to go to trial for charges related to the case. Was he a willing participant, or a whistleblower being punished for going against the platoon's bloodthirsty groupthink? The Kill Team offers compelling evidence for the latter, as it interweaves interviews with Winfield's fellow soldiers, including two who freely admit to their gruesome crimes. "It was impossible not to surrender to the insanity," one man admits, recalling how random acts of appalling violence became an accepted (and even expected) way to stave off boredom and frustration. More than just an examination of a horrific series of incidents, The Kill Team is a deeply disturbing look at modern military culture.
This is a Cinema by the Bay Film.