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Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:01 AM

Documentary 'The Kill Team' Captures Nightmare of War

Dan Krauss' film tells the tragic story of members of the infamous U.S. platoon involved in the murders of Afghan civilians.

In 2009, when Army PFC Andrew Holmes saw his first combat action in Afghanistan, his immediate thought was of the over-the-top, gung-ho heroics of Top Gun, capped with the strains of “Danger Zone” ricocheting in his head.

Dizzying jump cut to six years later: Holmes has no medals, no trophies and not even a kiss from Kelly McGillis. Found guilty in a military court, along with other members of his notorious “ Kill Team” platoon in the murders of unarmed Afghan civilians, Holmes is currently serving a seven-year sentence in Leavenworth prison.

How Holmes, Adam Winfield and Jeremy Morlock spiraled down from front-line U.S. warriors to disgraced war criminals is the main mission behind The Kill Team, a brief, choppy but incendiary documentary that registers yet another tragic beat in the American heart of darkness during the post-9/11 era.

With director Dan Krauss doing triple duty as producer and cinematographer (as well as editor and co-writer), The Kill Team is nearly a one-man operation, and the stitches in this postmortem sometimes show. Krauss trains his sights primarily on Specialist Adam Winfield, once a proud member of the Fifth Stryker Brigade, Bravo Company, stationed in Kandahar province from 2009 to 2010. You won’t get the big picture of the decade-long U.S. counterterrorism war in Afghanistan; rather, Krauss’ closeup cinema-verité campaign is to embed himself into the lives of Winfield and his distraught parents, Chris and Emma, as the military begins its murder trial against their son in Fort Lewis, WA. For background ammunition, Krauss drops in footage captured from the soldiers’ camcorders while on patrol as well as from Winfield’s actual 2010 Army interrogation.


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