Netflix has been releasing a slew of promotional material lately, letting fans know that they are serious about their commitment to produce a lot more original content in the upcoming years. In the past few days, we’ve seen trailers for Netflix-produced films spanning all genres, like sci-fi romance The Discovery and adventure thriller Okja. All in all, it looks like Netflix will see a huge influx of original film content this year, and the company is only looking to make more — they’re even hunting for a Hollywood-seasoned producer to oversee movie operations.
But for all the creative freedom Netflix allows, it seems like the company will be sticking to one genre staple with their upcoming releases. War films do notoriously well in America, with hits like Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor and recent movies like Fury and Zero Dark Thirty all crushing it at the box office. Netflix hopes to add to the genre this year with War Machine, an absurdist satire starring Brad Pitt, and another film that will go a more traditional route.
Today, Netflix released their first trailer for the upcoming Sand Castle, directed by Fernando Coimbra (A Wolf at the Door, Narcos). The film follows a young American machine gunner, Mike Ocre (Nicholas Hoult), at the onset of the Iraq War. Ocre is ambivalent about his role in the war, and must confront his mixed feelings when his platoon is tasked with repairing a broken water system in war-torn Baqubah. The script, by Chris Roessner, is based on Roessner’s own experience as a soldier. Catch the full trailer, above.
Sand Castle also stars Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman) and Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus, Spider-Man: Homecoming). Though Marshall-Green has yet to have a real breakout role on screen, the actor gave an incredible performance as the lead in last year’s SXSW horror drama The Invitation, and is slated to appear in Marvel’s upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming. Lead Nicholas Hoult, meanwhile, is perhaps best known for his role as Hank McCoy/Beast in the X-Men prequels, though he has more than proven his acting chops in smaller films like Tom Ford’s A Single Man.
Though Sand Castle so far looks like pretty straightforward war genre fare, the thematic ambivalence that covers the whole film adds an enticing element to its story. Upon watching the trailer, one cannot help but be reminded of 2014 Sundance debut Camp X-Ray, in which Kristen Stewart plays a conflicted young Army Private stationed at Guantanamo Bay. Though the film garnered its fair share of positive reviews, it ultimately never saw a wide release and thus never got a crack at recouping its meager budget. Those excited about the upcoming Sand Castles should check out Camp X-Ray as a kind of amuse bouche — it was, coincidentally, recently added to Netflix streaming.
It’s unclear whether or not Sand Castles will break genre convention or become another crowd-pleasing American war film, but this trailer at least shows potential for the former. Here’s hoping the film’s premiere this spring proves that Netflix is putting its production coins in the right coffer.
Sand Castle premieres on Netflix on April 21, 2017.