a LAND OF MINE musing

After World War II ended, millions of mines were left on the beaches of Denmark. LAND OF MINE, a Danish film, follows a group of young German boys forced to clean up the mines under the supervision of a Danish Sergeant, isolated from other groups. Just as another theatergoer said on the way out, it plays out like an uplifting sports movie, with the traditional ebbs and flows, but turn up the stakes to a million. Substitute the coach with the Sergeant, the team for Nazi youth, and the other team with explosions, and there’s your COACH CARTER.

Although there’s the well worn storytelling tropes, the stakes are what make all the difference here. The reality and danger of the situation elevates the movie from being a normal, solid tale into a powerful, moving story with great character work. When we first meet the Sergeant, he stares down a long line of defeated Nazi soldiers as they exit the previously occupied Denmark, even beating one of the soldiers for trying to steal a Danish flag, but as the film progresses, he sees the humanity in all of the young kids. Borders nor national pride don’t matter, he realizes, but the people that affect your early years will have an outcome on your life.

The movie has almost no score, and it only accentuates the breathtaking cinematography. Rolling winds along the beach, a setting sun or even a boy exploding are all shot beautifully, lovingly and poetically. The only problem with the silence is that it telegraphs an “unexpected” explosion by a mine or a voice. The real dramatic suspense seems to only come from the Sergeant’s actions, in anticipating or fearing what he will do next, rather than if the young ones die. Overall, LAND OF MINE is a great, thrilling World War II film that explores the hellish aftermath of war, what happens after a ceasefire.


(Refer to my rating system here)