7.8/10
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86 user 156 critic

Land of Mine (2015)

Under sandet (original title)
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2:04 | Trailer
In post-World War II Denmark, a group of young German POWs are forced to clear a beach of thousands of land mines under the watch of a Danish Sergeant who slowly learns to appreciate their plight.

Director:

Martin Zandvliet
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Popularity
4,105 ( 26)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 29 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Roland Møller ... Sgt. Carl Rasmussen
Louis Hofmann ... Sebastian Schumann
Joel Basman ... Helmut Morbach
Mikkel Boe Følsgaard ... Lt. Ebbe Jensen
Laura Bro ... Karin
Zoe Zandvliet Zoe Zandvliet ... Elisabeth, Karins Daughter (as Zoé Zandvliet)
Mads Riisom Mads Riisom ... Soldier Peter
Oskar Bökelmann Oskar Bökelmann ... Ludwig Haffke
Emil Belton Emil Belton ... Ernst Lessner
Oskar Belton ... Werner Lessner
Leon Seidel ... Wilhelm Hahn
Karl Alexander Seidel Karl Alexander Seidel ... Manfred
Maximilian Beck ... August Kluger
August Carter August Carter ... Rudolf Selke
Tim Bülow Tim Bülow ... Hermann Marklein
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Storyline

In post-World War II Denmark, the Danish government puts their hated German prisoners of war to work clearing the 1.5 million landmines from the western beaches of the country. At one such beach, Sgt. Carl Leopold Rasmussen finds himself in charge of one such labor unit and finds they are largely all inexperienced boys. As the boys struggle to complete and survive their dangerous work, Sgt. Rasmussen's hate for Germans gradually cools as he grows to understand the horrific situation these child soldiers are in even as the mines claim more and more victims. Eventually, the boys and the Sergeant must decide what can be done in a situation that would be later be denounced by later generations as the worst war crime committed by the Danish government in its history. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on an Extraordinary True Story. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, some grisly images, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It is believed that more than 2,000 German soldiers were forced to remove mines, and nearly half of them lost their lives or limbs. See more »

Goofs

The boys keep having the same 'fresh' haircut throughout the movie (that covers three months). It's unlikely that they had a hairdresser around, or even a pair of scissors. See more »

Quotes

closing title card: After the war, more than 2000 German prisoners were forced to remove over 1.5 million landmines from Denmark's west coast.
closing title card: Nearly half of them were killed or severely wounded.
closing title card: Many were barely more than children.
See more »

User Reviews

Disturbing, Disquieting & Devastating, 'Land Of Mine' Is Essential Cinema
30 January 2017 | by CinemaClownSee all my reviews

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Academy Awards, Land of Mine (also known as Under sandet) is a disturbing, disquieting & devastating cinema that's inspired from the immoral & inhuman act that the Danish authorities perpetrated against German POWs, majority of whom were teenagers, following the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Set in post-World War II Denmark, the story of Land of Mine follows a Danish Sergeant who is assigned the duty to defuse & remove over 2 million mines that were buried by the Germans along the coast during the war. Receiving a batch of teenage Germans POWs to carry out the operation, the Sergeant's initial hostility towards them begins to undergo an unexpected change.

Written & directed by Martin Zandvliet, the film opens with a crucial sequence that establishes the seething hatred that the Sergeant has against Germans and takes it up from there. Every segment featuring the young boys trying to defuse the mines with their bare hands despite being obviously ill-equipped to carry out the dangerous task is nail-biting as hell and even more hard-hitting when they fail at it.

Zandvliet's direction exhibits terrific restraint from start to finish and even more admirable is how he handles the characters & their arcs. Without choosing a side, he puts believable people on screen and keeps all their human attributes in tact, whether they are Danish or Germans. And while the hostile nature of the former against the latter is understandable, what the Danish authorities force them to do is equally inexcusable.

Shot at historically authentic locations, the entire picture is splendidly photographed and the era of Denmark recovering from the war is wonderfully captured by its desaturated & earthy colour tones. Camera-work is hand-held, static & expertly controlled for the most part and allows the scenes to play out at their desired pace but the longer it lingers on the defusing process, the more suspenseful it becomes and majority of the time, ends on a heartbreaking note.

Editing is skilfully carried out, for every single minute of its 1½ hour narrative is accounted for & is relevant to the plot. Every sequence on the beach is compelling & handled with patience and every explosion or casualty reverberates with the audience & the impact of it is deeply felt. The film does feel longer than its runtime but it is relentlessly gripping till the end. And further enhancing its grim aura is the poignant score that always surfaces on time.

Coming to the performances, Land of Mine features an incredibly committed cast in Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann & others, with Hofmann impressing the most. Møller is in as the Sergeant overseeing the mine clearing operation and expresses his character's inner conflict brilliantly while Hofmann plays one of the young boys performing the fatal, endless task of defusing millions of buried mines with stunning balance, and the scenes between the two are its main highlight.

On an overall scale, Land of Mine not only ranks amongst the best films of its year but is one of the finest films to come out from Cinema of Denmark. Incessantly human, powerfully moving & making a strong statement about what makes us human & why it's even more important to stay as one in times of bitter conflict, this Danish masterpiece is an extremely riveting example of its genre that treads a difficult path & is utterly discomforting at times yet manages to fully redeem itself in the end. An essential viewing by all means, this Danish masterpiece comes very highly recommended.


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Details

Country:

Denmark | Germany

Language:

German | Danish | English

Release Date:

3 December 2015 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Land of Mine See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DKK35,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$435,266

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,169,553
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)| DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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