While Krauss’ documentary sticks to the facts of the case, his feature film dramatizes some aspects, including changing the names of the actual people involved. Here, Winfield is Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff), who goes along with everything until his conscience gets too loud of his own liking, especially after new Staff Seargent Deeks (Alexander Skarsgård) encourages the platoon to adopt a ruthless, morally bankrupt approach to victory. Krauss’ film does a solid job of portraying how atrocities become normalized within the context of war, where sociopathic crimes are redefined as “righteous” acts of bravery meant to “redeem” the average soldier.
While the merits of the film are plenty, Krauss’ documentary feels more chilling for a reason — there are dramatic frills for the sake of art, as it dives into the harrowing details of the incident without compromise. Winfield’s moral dilemma is also the focus here, as the man had to contend with threats from his superiors and an escalating sense of guilt by association. Krauss provides us with details of legal proceedings that exposed these crimes to the world, along with interviews of soldiers who were involved with the situation, their testimonies emerging as both infuriating and informative.
“The Kill Team” is no comfort watch, but its shocking and difficult subject matter is essential to engage with, as it holds up a mirror to the fact that callous acts of wartime cruelty do not exist in a vacuum. “The Kill Team” feature adaptation is currently streaming on Netflix in the US. As for the documentary, you can catch that streaming on Peacock, Tubi, and Kanopy.