It’s a strange coincidence that it took putting on an Army uniform to bring out Kristen Stewart‘s softer, more vulnerable side, but the first official trailer for “Camp X-Ray” manages to humanize her in an unexpected way.
“It’s not as black and white as they said it was going to be,” says her character Private Amy Cole, a wide-eyed recruit tasked with guarding enemies of the state at Guantanamo Bay.
“Make no mistake about it, this is a war zone,” cautions Cpl. ‘Randy’ Ransdell (Lane Garrison), her jaded instructor. But writer-director Peter Sattler doesn’t film it this way. The trailer contains no explosions, no bullets whizzing by, no hint of “G.I. Jane;” just beautiful cinematography (which makes sense if you examine his IMDB resume, which is chock-full of design gigs), Aquilo’s haunting song “You There” and nuanced, believable interactions between Pvt. Cole and her prisoner Ali Amir (Peyman Moaadi of “A Separation,”) who claims to be innocent.
“Some of these guys have been locked up in here for eight years. You will refer to them as detainees. You will not call them prisoners,” continues her army instructor, “Do not let them get inside of your head.”
Pvt. Cole ignores his advice, though, as curious protagonists so often do. Amir doesn’t strike her as a caricature of a terrorist — he’s a man in an orange jumpsuit, longing for freedom. And when he’s hauled away from his cell she reaches a breaking point.
As TheWrap previously reported, the film premiered at Sundance in January and reactions were mixed. Some took issues with the plot, themes or direction, but most praised Stewart’s acting.
The “Twilight” series ended in 2012 and Stewart hasn’t yet shaken the stigma that comes with playing a tween idol like Bella Swan. Perhaps this role will allow her to step out from her own shadow.
“Camp X-Ray” hits theaters Oct. 17, 2014.