24 October 2019 | kjproulx
Tense And Very Well-Made
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.