Blu-ray, DVD and VOD: Land Of Mine (2015)
At the end of World War 2, the formerly Nazi occupied Denmark used remaining German soldiers to clear all the land mines left on Danish Beaches. Most of these soldiers were under 19 years old. Some were as young as 13.
Some of the films we review here can be a chore. However, what makes it worth all the hours of sitting through them is putting a disc in blind, not knowing anything about the film I’m about to see and being completely knocked out by it. Land of Mine is such a film, and without a doubt one of the most moving films I’ve seen in a long time.
After the Nazi surrender in 1945, thousands of German PoWs were forced to clear the Danish coastline of the mines that Hitler had ordered be placed there, made to crawl through the sand, gently easing thin metal wands into it to find the devices. Most of these soldiers were just kids, as at the end of the war Germany was so desperate they sent out children to fight. This terrifying and suicidally dangerous job was supposed to be for PoW’s that volunteered, with the carrot of freedom at the end, however, the Danish authorities thought it was what the Germans deserved and made them do it.
Roland Møller won a Bodil award playing Rasmussen, a grizzled and uncaring Danish army sergeant who oversees a work-party of terrified teenage German conscripts. He is utterly contemptuous of them at first, much like the Danish officers above Rasmussen who are like him, motivated by icy resolution and believe that the German’s all deserve to die. We don’t know what atrocities the Danes went through, and at first, it’s understandable, until you see these very young German lads getting blown to bits and crying for their mum’s. This is shockingly violent and necessarily so, it’s not an easy watch and I admit I was literally crying my eyes out at the end of the film.
Ironically, I saw the new Blade Runner film the day before, and I have to say that there was more emotion and candour in 2 minutes of Land of Mine then there was in Blade Runner 2049.
A really wonderful film and my favourite of the year so far.