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Reviews & Ratings for
Land of Mine More at IMDbPro »Under sandet (original title)

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33 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Excellent movie

Author: Alexander Rasch from Berlin, Germany
4 December 2015

What an excellent movie! Good actors, wonderful scenes, great plot. The Movie brings the feels to the audience so you can feel with them. Every second is as exciting as the second before. Maybe one of the best films in Denmark. Especially Leon Seidel plays his role perfect in every way. And all other Boys and Guys and Women are necessary and play an important role for the film. Martin Zandvliet created an film for the past and the future which entertains and teaches everyone. The film includes a dark past of Denmark. Young Boys are forced to disarm mines and this will be a deadly experience. If you watch Land of Mine you will not regret it. Thanks to everyone.

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24 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Like a train wreck, great entertainment but the outcome is horrifying.

Author: ericnottelling from United States
7 April 2016

This was a very well written and acted movie. The production level was very good and after viewing it, I don't think it was a very expensive movie to film. Yet it might be one of the best films I have seen from 2015. I really liked the story line here. Post WWII with a real feel for the era. You had a very real sense that the anger these people were feeling was real. There are parts in the movie where you just had to think WOW it just got real. From the very beginning they were not going to hold back. You could really feel the emotional message of the movie.

The movie is not for people who like happy endings. This is a very powerful story that sucks you in, and it holds you there in suspense. It's like watching a train wreck. It's great entertainment but the outcome is simply horrifying as you know what is coming down the tracks. It is filled with anger, fear and dread. But also human connection, reflection, and the propensity for humans to know the moral right. There is no way you can look at this movie and say there is a "happy ending". Instead it gives you a real glimpse of the complexities of post WWII mechanics and human character.

There is simply no way to look past the harsh realities of this film. It speaks to who we are and how human beings react. But it also shows that while we may not be innocent, we try to preserve others who we think are.

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22 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Love and Its Limits

Author: Katie Beam from United States
28 March 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We love to hate the Nazis—Inglourious Basterds, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler's List. They're the most reliable bad guys in cinema. And, as World War II and Denmark's Nazi occupation ends in Martin Zandvliet's Land of Mine, they're the most reliable bad guys to Danish Sgt. Carl Rasmussen. Land of Mine opens on Carl beating a surrendered and retreating Nazi soldier to a pulp.

We mind, but not too much.

Cue the German boys and Zandvliet's chosen untold true story of WWII — the Danish military force 2,000 young, surrendered German soldiers to clear nearly two million German mines from the beaches of Denmark. Half survive.

The middle-aged Sgt. Carl receives command of a dozen such baby- faced Germans to rid one Denmark beach of its 45,000 mines. Through his early cruelty, he keeps them uniformed and in strict military formation. But uniforms quietly slip into plain clothes, and lines, into free-form playing boys who mirror the lush, rolling landscapes of Carl's beloved Denmark. Predictably, Carl lacks the wherewithal to enforce the starvation and mistreatment of his Nazis subordinates once he sees them as mere boys, who already fear daily they will be maimed or killed by mines. The boy soldiers become his sons—he steals food for them, plays with them, and forgives them. The only real question becomes the lengths to which Carl will go to protect them.

Zandvliet tells his unknown story through unknown actors (this was the feature film debut for most of the boys). This casting choice provides us a fresh start, access to a new and unexpected world where mistreatment of Nazis ushers us out of a theater in tears and silence. German or Dane, the characters are unavoidably human, capable of both love and hate, both self-sacrifice and utter butchery. That cruel Nazi flare we've come to expect from cinema's WWII Germans is, here, wielded not by Germans but by Danes—Carl nearly beating to death the retreating soldier, Lt. Jensen sending the German boys to another minefield rather than home as promised, the Danish mother sneering a wish for the German boys' death.

Yet, despite its cruelty, Land of Mine is a tale of love. At first, Carl's love for his country and its land is placed in direct opposition to any possible love for the German boys under his command. The Germans destroyed Denmark's land with buried mines. Love for this land leads the Danes to hazard the lives of the German youth to restore it. The problem for Carl and his Danish comrades is not an utter lack of love but a limit to its breadth. Carl intuitively loves his land, his dog, his people. But it is only through an unlikely grace—the burden of the mines, jointly carried— that he learns to love his enemy.

In the end, Carl's love for the land merges with his love for the German boys. And Land of Mine ushers us away with one last thrilling landscape. It is not Danish. Nor is it German. It's both.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Great film – just a great film about life, the cancer of war, and death

Author: Duchino
11 July 2016

My dear friend Ilario, a cultured movie buff, had warmly suggested this film these past days, among the many he mentions and those we get to talk about, and I could perceive that he had figured how this "Land of Mine" would strike many chords with me. And it did; I watched it in original German/Danish with English subs (shaky at times, but OK), and the immersion was immediate from the impactful start. I'm sensitive to war scenarios and characters – especially lesser told ones – as this story tactfully paints a very sad, cruel and almost hopeless reality. The Sergeant is a great figure, the kids are true to life, the skies and beaches cold and lonely too. And full of death. "Under Sandet", instead, is full of cinematographic art.

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Predictable, but enjoyable

Author: euroGary from United Kingdom
12 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The English title of Danish/German co-production 'Under Sandet' could have been a literal translation: Under the Sand. Instead, it's been named 'Land of Mine'. You can see what they did there: the setting is Denmark in 1945, newly-liberated from Nazi rule; and the situation is the need to clear the large numbers of landmines left scattered over the country.

German-hating Sgt Carl is assigned a group of callow young German POWs to clear thousands of landmines from a stretch of beach. As the film progresses Carl and the boys come to understand each other, but given the nature of the work, the boys' numbers are slowly dwindling...

It will surprise no-one that the crusty old sergeant comes to feel some sort of affection for the boys. The viewer will also feel certain that one of the set of twins will not be returning to Germany, and as soon as the dog makes an appearance... well, it's just a question of how long has he got, really. Another big flaw is the one-dimensional nature of the characters (Carl aside): with just one throwaway line mentioning "what they've got on their consciences", the young Nazi soldiers are portrayed as victims; and Carl's smooth superior is little more than a pantomime villain (if he had a moustache he'd be twirling it), at one stage even leading a group of British soldiers to assault the boys. And of course, the viewer spends the entire film waiting for the next big explosion.

But somehow none of the flaws detract from the film being very good. Despite their possible wartime actions, the viewer remembers the boys are conscripts and as Carl locks them into their filthy, tiny hut each night it's hard not to feel sorry for them. As Carl, Roland Møller turns in a good performance of a man slowly coming to feel sympathy for his charges, and the various young Germans do well as bewildered youngsters trapped in a situation where each thrust of a stick into the sand could mean death or maiming. Definitely one of the best films of 2015's London Film Festival, this even manages a little light-heartedness in the end credits, where a caption solemnly informs the viewer that no humans or animals were harmed in the making of the film. Just in case anyone thought the producers were really blowing up their actors...

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Magnificent Anti-War Film

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
13 August 2016

In 1945, in Denmark, after the defeat of Germany, the tough veteran Sergeant Carl Rasmussen (Roland Møller) is assigned by Lieutenant Ebbe Jensen (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) to defuse and remove 2.2 million mines in the Danish West Coast to make the beaches safe. Carl receives a group of teenage Germans prisoners of war to clear mines. With the formal promise of Ebbe, Carl tells to the youngsters that when the task is accomplished, the survivors would be released to return to Germany. After the initial hostility with the enemy, Carl realizes that the POWs are too young and befriends the boys. But when a mine in a clear area blows up his dog, Carl forces the boys to walk together on the safe areas to check whether any mine was left behind. Months later, the survivors complete their task but Ebbe sends them to another mined field. What will Carl do?

"Land of Mine", a.k.a. "Under sandet", is a magnificent anti-war film based on real events in Denmark where German POWS were sent to clear German mines on the beaches in a violation of Geneva Convention. The plot also shows the behavior and relationship of persons in power and the defeated ones and in the end there is no difference of who is who. Ebbe is as cruel as a Gestapo Commander and most of the POWs have the same concerns of any teenager, seeking for a job or to be with family and friends. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Terra de Minas" ("Land of Mines")

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A blot on Danish post-war history

Author: Thomas Honoré Nielsen from Varde, Denmark
2 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A dark blot on Danish post-war history finally put solidly on record and irrefutably so at that. Or at least that is what one would have thought. Having lived many years in the exact place where this takes place, the hateful remarks made towards these German conscripts were not grabbed from thin air and can be heard even today. Even in the audience at the cinema, some 70 years after the fact, there were occasional crude remarks when the teenagers had their limbs torn off. War, however horrible, ends at some point; the innate hatred towards faceless representatives of the enemy is long lived and utterly unnerving to watch.

The sere landscape of Skallingen and Blåvandshuk makes for a beautiful backdrop to this fine and thought provoking drama. My only complaint was that the house where they are lodged, although correct for both period and location, appears too old fashioned, which may add to the feeling of something that happened a long time ago. There were more modern facilities in the area at that time, which would have been easier for us in this day and age to relate to. But that is nitpicking.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

One of the best this year

Author: dakjets from Norway
24 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Danish sergeant Carl Leopold is responsible for a group of young German prisoners of war. The German boys are sent to the Danish west coast to defuse mines Nazis dug into the sand during World War II. Carl nourishes an intense hatred towards Germany and Germans after the war, and the boys suffers. The film is very poignant and brutal. There were several scenes that were tough to watch, this is a film that is difficult to take in right away. The story is strong and the story evolves dramatically. The psychological strain is something we as viewers are drawn into. One of the best things about this film is the wonderful actors, especially the young soldiers' suffering is conveyed in a convincing manner. This is a film you will not forget so easily. One of the year's best.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Another great danish flick!

Author: Vikingbyheart from Brazil
7 July 2016

Several World War II stories are not told in the books, being forgotten over time. Inspired by true events, the film Under Sandet (original title) or Land of Mine (in English) addresses one of these reports, which occurred in Denmark after the war. Fearing that a possible Allied invasion would take place from the Danish coast, Nazi Germany filled the entire length of Denmark's west coast with over 1.5 million mines. With the German surrender and the end of the war in May 1945, more than 2,000 German prisoners of war were sent to disarm those landmines. The story focuses on a small group of young Germans who have the hard and dangerous task of clearing 45,000 mines from a danish beach to gain freedom.

The film, written and directed by Martin Zandvliet, is an excellent motion picture, managing to bring to the screen a work with a new approach, although all the other war films ever made before. With an original script, the director succeeds to convey the bitterness brought by five years of Nazi occupation in Denmark. He also portrays the exploitation of children dragged into war. One of the great successes of Zandvliet's direction and script is to show the war cycles: the winners, the danes, start to adopt the brutal practices of the losers, the Germans. It was precisely for situations like this that the Second World War broke out. France and other winning countries of World War required repairs and imposed absurd sanctions to Germany.

The photography, by Camilla Hjelm, is to behold. And here, again, we have to highlight the director's work. The use of long shot captures the beautiful danish landscape, while more intimate moments allow us to monitor the interactions among those soldiers. Maintaining an intense pace, the tranquility and vastness of the beach are contrasted, at all times, with the danger that awaits them "under the sand", expression that names the film. The soundtrack is catchy and at times heartbreaking, fitting in the drama narrated in the film.

One of the elements that makes Land of Mine a memorable experience is the excellent performance of Roland Møller, playing the role of Sergeant Carl Rasmussen, protagonist of the story. Responsible to oversee the group of German soldiers, Carl struggle to separate his military duties from the hatred he feels for the old enemy. The actor delivered a complex character, moody, bitter and angry, but at the same time which has not lost humanity that exists within him. The rest of the cast was also well chosen and psychologically developed, in which the actors who play the soldiers have different personalities.

With a philosophical discussion about military conflicts as well as being very intense and beautiful, Under Sandet gives us a real view of the complexities of the Second World War and human behavior.

Originally posted in:

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Teen POWs in the post WWII Denmark.

Author: Reno Rangan from Somewhere in the Cosmos
24 August 2016

A Danish war-drama that was inspired by the historical account, but all the characters were fictional. Remember this title for another six month, because I am confident this film will make a journey to the west coast of the USA to compete at the 89th Academy Awards in the coming February. I have seen many foreign films, but I'm not this much positive for any others. If this film fails to make, then that would be a great disappointment despite having no idea of what are the other four films. So this is just for now, my stance may change later.

Anyway, the film was heartbreakingly amazing. The WWII stories I had seen those told from the perspectives of the Australian, Japanese, Korean, Russian to African and European to the American western sea, Hawaii. And this is a Danish story, sets in just after the end of the war where prisoners of the war were used to clean up the mess. In the opening the teen German POWs were trained to defuse the land mine explosives and then later the unit was handed over to the Danish sergeant Carl Rasmussen where they are all going to work in one of the west coast landmines that was used to defend the Scandinavia by the Nazi. That is the story told how it all ends in the remaining parts.

This was like another 'Kajaki', but not actually a war film. Using of the prisoners as the labourers is a violation, according to the Geneva rule. That's the point of the film, focused to reveal the inhume act. But it was not anything like 'The Railway Man' 'Unbroken' or the 'The Bridge on the River Kwai'. Watching a film about the brave soldiers inspires us and bring patriotism, but in this those teen kid screaming whenever something goes wrong really brings heartache. So not everybody feels comfortable with it, especially the family audience. But there were lots of edgy moments and you would never know what events follows.

"If they are old enough to go to war, they are old enough to clean up."

It was shot is the real location, and I think that part contributed to depicting the actual atmosphere where most of the POWs lost their arms and legs and some exploded into many pieces in the air. It was a simple narration, but the visuals talked itself more than anything else. All the actors were outstanding, especially those 4-5 German teens and of course the Danish sergeant Carl. I think the Carl's influence had more impact, after seeing the opening scene where he went outrage and beat up those German soldiers returning home.

There are a couple of small twists, but there are some scenes which are not easy to get over. Even though we know those were just fake, but that does not work once you totally into the story deeply. This is a different kind of emotional film, something you rarely experience. The director who is also the writer must be appreciated for handling it perfectly. Especially keeping the screenplay uncomplicated and between the two nations, where in the real event involves the British officials. I have never seen his other films, but this one will define him forth and the people are going to recognise him. So I hope he'll keep up doing such level films in the future.

I have never seen such film, I mean seen some where the kids were tortured, but this was very unique and totally a different perspective for that takes place in the backdrop of the WWII. Especially the Germans perspective is the very rare kind. So I'm kind of thinking if Germany picks 'Look Who's Back' for the Oscars, the contest between these two would bring two different moods. At this point I don't remember any Danish film I have seen so far in my life other than this one which I feel is the best Danish film ever. I mean, come on, who would do such film where your own nation, if not the whole nation, the one who represent was shown in the negative shade over the Nazi Germans. This is definitely one of the best films of the year. Highly recommended.


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