It ends up that the types of deaths which occur in war are broader and more specifically defined than outsiders may know. Every kind of imaginable killing takes place when countries war against each other, pitting skill, wit, weaponry, and technology against the opponent. Death in war is ugly in all kinds of ways, nasty to all kinds of degrees. Living through war and surviving to get back to civilian living doesn’t seem to be so pretty either, as the characters in The Kill Hole remind us. A review with spoilers follow.
With front-billed actor Chadwick Boseman, of recent “42” fame, and a cast of brow-furrowed characters; this movie has depth and meaning. Boseman plays Lt. Samuel Drake, who is committed to moving forward in his new post-Iraq experience. He has a job as a cab driver, a motel room, and an almost photographic memory. The other two don’t present problems, but the memory presents him with so many vivid images of his war crime.
It looks like someone else saw what he and his squad did – it was someone with a bird’s eye view. This means that his discharge has trouble riding on its coattails.
“What I did was a crime,” he admits early in the movie.
“Something from the past has come back to haunt us,” one of his former squad members tells him. They put the burden of fixing the problem (resolving it) on Drake’s shoulders. They give him everything he needs to bring about this resolution, except a hard enough heart.
“I signed the mission orders,” one ghost from his past tells him. This, and other parts of the movie warns that there is all kinds of power during war-time.
This film was about war in so many ways; starting with wars going on inside a man after his military stint is over. There are wars against the conscience, wars against bad memories, wars against others who participated and wars against others who knew about it. And what about the war (the turmoil) against all the usable and transferable skills a man learns in combat.
It it’s nothing else, it is a predicament film. The Drake character resigns himself to being a pawn. “That’s in the job description,” he reports. He has accepted that his discharge did not give him true freedom. He finds out that enemies are not always the ones encountered in the combat zone.
During lighter moments viewers have the pleasure of seeing Boseman’s trademark megawatt smile. During two segments, Boseman’s trademark measured voice narrates with a message to viewers. He even sings during one scene.
Speaking of scenes, the camera caught some of the most amazing shots of the sky, the mountains, the conifers and the clouds. Beautiful pastel shades during these views were plentiful; they just didn’t last long enough.
These scenes were alternated with some ugly scenes which hit you in the gut.
The Bottom Line
The movie is almost a collage. It offers so many tools to enhance enjoyment, and prevent boredom.
At issue is the question whether the soldier always does what his superiors tell him, or not? This dilemma seems like a lose-lose proposition, the way it was presented in this movie.
The same strong spirit that Boseman showed in his role as Jackie Robinson comes out in this film. In this movie, it seems that he is never able to let his guard down. Yet, remnants of who Lt. Drake was before his Marine duty emerge from time-to-time. The top-billed actor’s delivery in this complicated conflicted film is par excellence. Five stars and a thumbs up for The Kill Hole.
Also by Shirley
“42” Jackie Robinson Biopic
Lincoln, the Movie
Sharon Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s Daughter