Movie Review: Sand Castle shows the Iraq War exactly as you’ve seen it before

The most interesting thing about the Netflix exclusive Sand Castle is probably how much of an Iraq War movie it is, in the sense that, like any truly middling example of a genre, it involuntarily bares the genre’s tropes. It’s a stale, phony, grunt-level sort of view of American intervention, cast in large part with Brits and shot in the familiar desert backlots of Jordan, which has stood in for the site of one Middle Eastern conflict after another since Lawrence Of Arabia. Within its unremarkable mise-en-scène, one finds Humvees, makeshift plywood walls, and defaced Ba’athist palaces where dirt-seamed American soldiers lounge on showroom-style furniture—all those things that made the Iraq War, like all widely televised conflicts, into a subgenre of war story before anyone had a chance to write about it in fiction or memoir. It’s that paradigm shift of war in the buzzing …

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