The Kill Team (2013) is a documentary about a soldier in Afghanistan, Adam Whitfield, who falls under the control of an evil sergeant Calvin Gibbs who murders three Afghan civilians for sport. Initially in his tour, Whitfield is able to avoid participating in Gibbs’ atrocities, but eventually he is pressured to pull the trigger on an innocent victim.
Whitfield’s ultimate capitulation is especially tragic not only because he was near the end of his tour, but also because he had visited with his Marine-vet father in the middle of his tour and was advised that his survival depended on not exposing Gibbs until they returned to America from Afghanistan. Unfortunately for Whitfield, someone else played whistle-blower and exposed Gibbs, Whitfield, and several others.
The story is told from the perspective of Whitfield and his parents, who feel their son was in an impossible position. They all seem to be solid Americans, and you don’t want to see anything bad happen to the kid. But the dead Afghan, a middle-age father, deserves justice, too. In the end, justice is served, IMO.
The Rotten Tomato critics score the movie at 90%, with the audience at 79%. That’s about right, as I give it three and a half stars out of four.
Selma (2014) is the controversial, Academy-nominated historical drama about MLK and the voting-rights marches emanating from Selma, AL in 1965. The movie is controversial because it portrays LBJ as an obstructionist to voting rights, while his defenders declare that to be patently untrue. As a historical drama, however, the movie works well. The storyline, the writing, and the acting are fine. The Rotten Tomato critics score the movie at 99%, and the audience is less enthused at 87%. I only give the movie three stars out of four because I don’t like being reminded of how badly southerners treated blacks 50 years ago, although I suppose it is unrealistic to expect that a milder form of that treatment doesn’t exist today.