‘Land of Mine’ carries ‘Hurt Locker’ tension with its dark heart

Here is a story that you didn’t know and a follow-through that you didn’t see coming.

“If they are old enough to go to war, they are old enough to clean up their mess.”

For Sergeant Carl Rasmussen(Roland Moller), vengeance has grown on trees inside his soul due to the cost of war. It’s May in 1945, near the end of World War II, and the Germans have surrendered. But the war isn’t over for some people. When we first see Carl, he is fuming in his military jeep as he drives past German P.O.W., and the rage has taken over his body. He abruptly stops, beats up a couple prisoners, and screams at the others to get out. “This is my country,” Carl proclaims, and that is how the powerful Land of Mine begins.

The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars this year, and I can tell you why: it is a striking piece of cinema that won’t let you go for days. I saw it five days ago, and I am still brushing the story off my conscience. Independent (especially foreign) displays a freedom that most American films simply can not on average, and this film is the latest example of its power. It’s in Danish and German subtitles, but the moral of the film never gets close to being lost.

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Writer/director Martin Zandvliet casts a spotlight on the unknown fallout of WWII: the aftermath of the carnage and how certain countries committed tragic war crimes in order to rid their country of the weapons of the trade in the months following the surrender of Germany. The story centers on Rasmussen and the 14 German prisoners that are assigned under him to dig up land mines along the western Denmark coast line. There’s just one thing; the prisoners are young men, kids even. Continue reading “‘Land of Mine’ carries ‘Hurt Locker’ tension with its dark heart”