This Oscar-nominated Danish drama brings a little-known slice of post-WWII history to the screen with a combination of visceral punch, sombre reflection and compassion. During the war, the Nazis, incorrectly guessing that the Allies would try to invade Germany via Denmark’s west coast, laid more than two million landmines along the shoreline. After the end of hostilities, the job of clearing the mines was tasked to German prisoners of war.
At the heart of the story here is a bad-ass Danish sergeant (Roland Møller), who’s none too chuffed at supervising a bunch of scared German teenage conscripts in this perilous but necessary task. If you are the kind of person freaked out by sudden loud noises, consider yourself warned, there’s some nail-chewing tension in store. And though the progress of the story is not hard to guess, ‘Land of Mine’ is still deeply engrossing from scene to scene. The tricky subject of feeling empathy for hated invaders is handled with balance and intelligence, and in charismatic leading man Møller – a fascinating performer who spent time in jail for assault before turning to acting – the film has a sinewy but not unfeeling centre of interest.