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viff review

The Kill Team.

The mesmerizing documentary about a group of U.S. soldiers killing Afghan citizens for kicks, circa 2010, has the kind of urgent intimacy that characterizes the best such non-fiction films. As it opens, Kill Team member Adam Winfield faces the prospect of a long sentence on charges including premeditated murder for his role in the atrocities. Yet he had tried to do the right thing, telling his ex-marine father what was going on and pleading with him to get someone to pay attention. The question that drives the movie is whether Mr. Winfield deserves the crushing sentence or judicial mercy. The film spends a lot of time in the Winfield camp. It also has battlefield footage from the cellphones of team members and extremely horrific talking-head material. It is all very compelling, though some of the fly-on-the-wall stuff with Winfield's parents is so polished it seems like it was shot for a feature film. Regardless, this is still an astonishing, must-see film about the dangers of the fog of war.

At VIFF: Oct. 8, 12:15 p.m., The Cinematheque

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