Helmed by Dan Krauss, ‘The Kill Team’ is a 2019 action drama film that follows the story of a young soldier, Andrew Briggman, who is initially excited to join the US Army but gets disappointed by what he witnesses. Briggman is stationed in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province and comes across Staff Seargent Deeks when his former Seargent Wallace dies after stepping on an IED.
This war film, which is the director’s first feature film and based on his 2013 documentary of the same name, views everything that happens to the soldiers from the lens of the shy and conflicted Briggman. He has to make some difficult choices, and the movie makes sure to capture all his emotions. Since the protagonist’s journey with his peers is nothing short of painful yet fascinating, it raises many questions about how true this character is.
Andrew Briggman Is Based on Specialist Adam Winfield
Even if Krauss’ ‘The Kill Team’ provides a fictional account and is inspired by true events, the protagonist of this film, Andrew Briggman, is based on real soldier Specialist Adam Winfield, who is also the main attraction of the 2013 documentary. Krauss decided to take up this feature film after finishing the documentary since he knew someone would eventually fictionalize the real account he is so familiar with, and he wanted to make sure he did justice to it.
For the purpose of his documentary, Krauss worked closely with Winfield and his family, along with other soldiers, to get an accurate account of what truly happened when five soldiers of Bravo Company, based at the forward operating base in Ramrod, Maiwand, were accused of murdering Afghan civilians in 2010. As he worked so closely with Winfield on the documentary, Krauss felt he needed to focus on the emotional part of his journey in the 2019 movie since he felt none of the characters in the story are black and white and are facing certain conflicts that a lot of people can relate with.
Nat Wolff, who plays Briggman in the film, also got in touch with Winfield to understand his character better. After getting to know him for a bit, Wolff felt that with Winfield, it was more important to reflect his shy and reserved nature in the character he portrayed rather than try to mimic him in any way, since that seemed more important to tell his story accurately. In terms of the events depicted in the film, a lot of them quite aptly narrate the situation from Winfield’s perspective.
For instance, the Facebook messages that Briggman in the film exchanges with his father asking for help and claiming that the other soldiers are committing “murders” were also used as a crucial piece of evidence in the real-life investigation, which helped reduced the charges against Winfield since it showed that he was initially resisting everything his Seargent and peers were doing. The real-life investigation also allegedly highlights Seargent Calvin Gibbs’ attempts to threaten Briggman into submission, which is also depicted in the film, and how Gibbs always saw Briggman as someone who felt too weak to handle their kind of life.
Adam Winfield: Where Is He Now?
Adam Winfield was among the five soldiers charged with murdering unarmed Afghan civilians, and his involvement was confirmed in one of the murders, to which he pleaded guilty. He was given the shortest jail time of three years because of his testimony against their leader, Calvin Gibbs, and his attempts initially to resist the group, which were highlighted through his Facebook conversation with his father, and his father’s initial attempts to inform authorities about his crew allegedly murdering innocent people.
Winfield had later asked his father, who was a retired marine, to not raise this issue, since he had started fearing for his life after alleged threats from Gibbs. He was convicted for the murder of an unarmed local, Mullah Adahadad, who was shot by some soldiers, including Winfield. He later claimed that he didn’t want to be involved and when a grenade was first thrown at Adahadad, he tried to aim his gun away from the victim.
After serving his sentence for three years, Winfield was released and cooperated along with his family to bring Krauss’ documentary to life with his testimony. Since Krauss made a point to stay in touch with Winfield even after the documentary, he revealed what Winfield was up to most recently in 2019. Krauss said that Winfield later went on to join a university where he studied American history. He also got married around this time and is trying to live a normal life to the extent he is capable of. This shows that even if the film is fictional, the process of making a documentary helped Krauss to highlight all the real elements of Winfield’s life as much as possible.