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Netflix previews trailer for war film shot in UAE

BERLIN // Netflix has previewed the first trailer for a long-awaited war film partially shot in the UAE.

The film, War Machine, features Brad Pitt, Ben Kingsley and Will Poulter among its all-star cast. It was shown during its See What’s Next press preview event in Berlin.

The online streaming service also revealed that the US$60 million production will be released on the platform worldwide on May 26.

The film is based on Michael Hasting’s best-selling 2011 non-fiction book, The Operators, which reports on the author’s travels with Gen Stanley McChrystal during his spell as commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2010.

Pitt stars as Gen Dan McMahon, a character closely based on Gen McChrystal.

The movie was shot in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah for about a month in October to November 2015.

Streets and buildings in the capital were transformed into military checkpoints, border crossings and the American embassy in Kabul.

Several days of desert shooting took place in RAK, while the old town was made into Afghan villages and an American military base.

About 2,300 extras were recruited locally for the movie, featured as both US military members and as Afghan villagers.

Clocking at only just over 30 seconds, the trailer doesn’t give too much away about a production that Netflix has so far been keeping tightly under wraps.

However, one tell from the clip that, rather than simply being another explosive dose of desert-based warfare, the movie looks set to feature a heavy dose of black comedy and satire.

Avid local location spotters may be disappointed with the trailer too. We see a couple of fleeting glimpses of desert that it is safe to assume is the UAE, but there’s no opportunity for a bout of ‘spot-the-skyscraper’ here, as with The Fast and the Furious 7.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, who was also in Berlin for the unveiling, described the film as “a pitch-black war story, inspired by true events, from writer-director David Michod”.

“It features Brad Pitt’s sly take on one of the most polarising war figures for a generation, the successful and charismatic four-star general Stanley McChrystal, who leapt in like a rock star to command Nato forces in Afghanistan, only to be taken down by a journalist’s no-holds-barred expose,” he said.

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