Monday, April 24, 2017

Sand Castle Netflix Movie Review

Sand Castle (2017)
Watch Sand Castle on Netflix
Written by:  Chris Roessner (screenplay)
Directed by: Fernando Coimbra
Starring:  Henry Cavill, Nicholas Hoult, Glen Powell, Tommy Flanagan, Logan Marshall-Green, Beau Knapp
Rated: TV-MA

Set in 2003 Iraq during the second Gulf War, Private Matt Ocre (Nicholas Hoult) and his detail are tasked with bringing water to a village where anger and resentment fester.

This isn't a big, bombastic war movie, and it doesn't try to be. It's one soldier's journey in a war that doesn't always make sense to those observing or fighting. Hoult does a great job as the reluctant soldier. This feels like a real and accurate account of what soldiers would face. The writer is an Iraq war veteran.
It depends.

Matt Ocre doesn't want to be in the military. He joined the reserves for college money, which just happened to be a few months before the Iraq war started. It's always clear in Ocre's body language that he doesn't want to be there. Ocre is scared and it's completely understandable. He sees a bunch of guys around him ready to fight and mistakes their confidence as genuine. They're scared too. They act cocky to conceal their fears. Ocre can't understand them, but they see him as someone that's likely to run away when they need him most.

The writer is an Iraq war veteran, and this movie feels like it. This is a sublte glimpe at the intricacies of the Iraq war from where the soldiers sleep to how the Captain's office is.
In the first few scenes we see an air strike that reinforces just how dire situations can be.

Cavill doesn't have a very large role. He's more of a cameo playing the cool captain that wears band t-shirts. I'd like to know what accent he was attempting.

Ocre's detail is tasked with repairing a water pump station. Of course the locals don't want to help. They believe the Americans caused the problem and they should be the ones to fix it. The soldiers try to appeal to the local politician, but he refuses to help. Any of the locals that do help face retaliation.

Ocre starts the movie wanting to get out of the military, but by the end, he doesn't feel the same way. He completed the job he didn't think he could do and he wants to finish repairing the pump station. He still thinks he can make a difference, but has yet to see the futility. Usually recruits are excited about joining the military, but it's only after a tour that they become jaded. A tour in Iraq did the opposite for Ocre, but he can't see what his sergeant and captain see, there's not reason to fight the opposition to repair the pump station. It's better to move on to the next job.

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