Forced to defuse a beach full of mines in post war Denmark, Land of Mine introduces us to a group of young German POWs facing terror, violence and constant peril as they and their Danish commander come to terms with the situation, and each other.
Land of Mind is shocking, violent and thought provoking, and is undoubtedly one of the best war films I’ve seen in years. Introducing us to a part of war (post-war to be precise) rarely seen, Land of Mine covers hatred, prejudice, emotional and physical loss as well as friendship and comradery in a unique and real world setting. Land of Mine brings intense pain in a sedated and realistic way with no embellishment or added drama. It’s very real and very impactful. Roland Moller who plays the Danish Commander portrays a man who views are conflicted with beauty and grace. He hates the Germans for what they’ve done, but as his young POWs face peril with stoicism and heroism he begins to see them as what they are, boys, learning to separate them from the things their commanders and they themselves may have done in the name of war.
This young cast give commanding performances as director Martin Zandvliet pulls no punches. They are convincingly increasingly ill and weak throughout the film, the colour stolen from their faces as director and crew try to hide none of the shameful treatment of these prisoners with none of the usual Hollywood restrictions. Joel Basman and Emil Belton stand out in particular despite being more minor characters, and I hope to see them in more mainstream films in the future, and I’ll be following their work as they grow.
Land of Mine could easily challenge Hurt Locker if they were to fight for best picture. Land of Mine won’t get the plaudits it deserves because it’s both a foreign language film and covering as aspect of war less interesting and less marketable. Land of Mine is gritty and at times hard to watch, but ultimately, brilliant. I will be talking about Land of Mine for the rest of the year and I thoroughly recommend you watch it.
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