Sample life on the Iraqi frontline with Netflix’s latest offering



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Movies and documentaries about the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan have not exactly been thin on the ground in recent years.

What started out with the very fine Three Kings about three GIs on the hunt for Saddam’s loot during the Gulf War soon snowballed into a series of films looking at the impact of these wars on those who fought them.

The latest offering to be added to the list is Sand Castle, now available on Netflix, which focuses on young army rifleman Matt Ocre, who is part of a platoon led by a special forces officer (Henry Cavill) tasked with repairing a village’s water supply during the Iraq War.

Sand Castle Netflix - Virgin Media Ireland

They face hostile locals, who you think might be grateful for the help, but then again, it was American bombs that destroyed the water supply in the first place.

Suffice to say, there’s no love lost between both sides as the soldiers go about repairing a mess their own side created, which is a neat allegory for what happened in Iraq.

Sand Castle follows in a long line of movies and documentaries about the wars in the Middle East. The young cast does a good job underlying the futility of war and how soldiers have to square all that with the job in hand.

And if Sand Castle is your bag, then there are plenty more such movies out there. Jarhead with Jake Gyllenhaal tells the tale of a sniper specialist serving during Desert Storm, while The Battle for Haditha is more full-on, using a documentary style of filming to dramatise real events concerning the deaths of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians at the hands of American soldiers.

For a real fly-in-the sand look at life on the frontline, Severe Clear (2003) might be your choice. Filmed by Lieutenant Mike Scott on a mini camera, it offers an unflinching look at the reality of war.

Other documentaries include Frontline Fighting: The Brits Battling ISIS, which does exactly what it says on the tin by following three civilians who travelled to Syria to go toe-to-toe with ISIS.

Darker still is The Kill Team, a stark documentary looking at the price one soldier pays when he tries to expose the murders that were being committed by members of his own platoon.

But if you like your desert warfare as entertainment rather than social commentary, there’s plenty to watch – from The Hurt Locker, with Jeremy Renner risking life and limb as a bomb disposal expert, to Green Zone, with Matt Damon uncovering the political shenanigans behind the Iraq debacle.


Sand Castle, a Netflix Original, is in very good company

Give them a watch, and take comfort in the fact we live in a neutral country.


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