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‘Land of Mine’ a predictable wartime drama

First Published      Last Updated Apr 08 2017 01:52 pm

The Danish movie "Land of Mine" is as unsurprising and by-the-book as a wartime drama could be, and the only burning question one has leaving a screening is, "This pedestrian movie was a Foreign-Language Oscar nominee?"

World War II is coming to an end, and the Danish military is taking back land that was occupied by the Germans, along with a slew of German soldiers as prisoners of war. The Germans left some 2.2 million land mines buried in the beaches of Denmark's west coast — and the Danish brass decide that captured German soldiers should have to find and defuse them.




Writer-director Martin Zandvliet follows a unit of young Germans assigned to dismantle mines on one stretch of beach. Overseeing them is a Danish military man, Sgt. Carl Rasmussen (Roland Møller), who treats his dog better than the Germans under his watch. But as he watches over these prisoners and sees that they are mostly teens drafted into the German army, his hard heart softens.

Zandvliet's script dutifully provides glimpses of the young German soldiers, though never giving enough detail beyond the familiar foxhole stereotypes. And the attempts at building tension, with the notion that a land mine could go off at any time, are lessened with leaden scenes that telegraph every explosion.

Mitigating this predictable pacing is a strong performance by Møller, who brings a gruff sincerity to the role. His portrayal of a crusty sergeant rediscovering his humanity doesn't quite excuse the clichés that fill "Land of Mine," but it makes the experience bearable.

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AT A GLANCE

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‘Land of Mine’

A Danish sergeant is put in command of German POWs to clear land mines in this routine wartime drama.

Where » Broadway Centre Cinemas.

When » Opens Friday, April 7.

Rating » R for violence, some grisly images and language.

Running time » 100 minutes; in Danish and German, with subtitles.


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