Words by Samuel Sunter
Martin Zandvliet’s Land of Mine is a unique and unsettling story about young men post-war. Taking place in the instant aftermath of the Second World War, the film traces the story of German soldiers who have been captured by Allied forces. The young men are put to work disarming landmines scattered along the Danish coastline under the supervision of a cold and strict sergeant (Roland Moller). As the captured soldiers make their way across the beach, a palpable tension is built that makes the film unpredictable and entertaining.
In terms of cinematography, the film is stunning and authentic. The white coast and clear waters of the Danish beachside are stark in contrast with the grim nature of the story that is told. This kept me on edge, as the events that unfold in the film are unexpected, shocking and executed extremely well. The unpredictable nature of Land of Mine is one of its greatest features.
One minute I was viewing an emotional exchange between the soldiers and their sergeant, and the next, bloody and violent scenes. At times the film is warm and emotional, however there constantly lingers a dark and icy feel against the backdrop of the post-war setting.
The acting is strong and the story didn’t feel stretched out. Each performance in the film is believable and memorable, touching on heartstrings as the young soldiers unwillingly risk their lives on the sandy dunes. The age of the actors is realistic and confronting which adds to the overall tension and emotion of the film.
If the thought of subtitles exhausts you, note that the film runs smoothly. I wasn’t left confused or distracted following the words on the screen. The film is engaging and the story is captivating because you are constantly on edge as to what will happen next. I was left in suspense each time a German soldier attempted to disarm a landmine.
To acknowledge that the film is based on true events is frightening and confronting. The film presents a unique perspective and emotional story that leaves a lasting impression. Land of Mine is an original and captivating film that I would strongly recommend.