Netflix has earned rave reviews for its gritty true-life action-drama series Narcos, detailing the rise of famed Colombian drug lord and folk hero Pablo Escobar and efforts by US and Colombian authorities to bring him to justice. Now Netflix is setting its sights on another historic conflict, the Iraq War, with the feature film Sand Castle.
Sand Castle stars Henry Cavill and Nicholas Hoult as members of a small squad of American soldiers who journey to an Iraqi village to help with repairs after a U.S. bombing raid and find themselves trying to protect the villagers from attackers. With a script by Iraq War veteran Chris Roessner, the movie promises to be a realistic and harrowing account of what war is really like on the ground.
A handful of Sand Castle images, shared by EW, show Cavill and Hoult all decked out in their Iraq War gear, ready for whatever is coming. The images promise just the kind of highly realistic action you would expect from a film written by a real Iraq War soldier. The synopsis promises that the movie will explore the “true cost of war”, so we can anticipate that the villagers’ point-of-view will be explored alongside that of the soldiers.
Sand Castle is directed by Fernando Coimbra, a veteran of Netflix’s Narcos, whose 2013 feature film A Wolf at the Door won accolades at film festivals. Stars Cavill and Hoult are certainly no strangers to action, having both appeared in more than their fair share of comic book movies and the like, but the action in Sand Castle promises to be much more grounded than the fantasy stuff we are used to seeing the actors mixed up in (and less formulaic than superhero movies, which should make Hoult happy). Hoult should be used to having sand in everything after appearing in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, at that.
The presence of Narcos‘ Coimbra as director hints at how Sand Castle will approach its subject matter. Expect lots of intense action and inter-personal conflict depicted in a fairly straight-forward, journalistic way here, with multiple points-of-view being considered. Of course, a feature film won’t be able to get into all the complexities of the situation the way a series like Narcos can.
The Iraq War has of course been depicted memorably on film several times before, notably in the Oscar-winner The Hurt Locker and Clint Eastwood’s controversial 2014 Oscar-nominee American Sniper. When you consider how many thousands of stories could be told about that war, the movies that have been made have only just scratched the surface. Sand Castle will add its own take to cinema’s ongoing exploration of the Iraq War when it hits Netflix sometime this spring.