TWO wrongs do not make a right is the central theme and learning curve for the hard-edged Sergeant in this harrowing depiction of young lives put at risk.
World War II has ended and German soldiers are being booted out of Denmark, except for a group of 14 inexperienced teenage POWs, who are forced to scour the west coast and recover millions of landmines buried in the sand.
In charge is the terrifying and uncompromising Danish Sergeant Carl Rasmussen (Roland Moller), who in the opening sequence beats Germans as they vacate the country in single file.
The POWs, who aren’t even old enough to shave, must crawl around the beach in the cold and with little food for six months, with the goal of disarming four bombs per hour, and at night are locked in a shed, with little hope that any of them will return to their home country alive.
Based on fact, this harrowing account of a group of mistreated youths prematurely facing their mortality is a tough but rewarding watch.
From the tension-filled extended early sequence of the boys disarming their first landmine, there is a sense of dread running throughout this often times bleak film, with these teenagers outrageously paying for the sins of older generations.
Director Martin Zandvliet puts us right there down in the dirt with the boys, the unpredictability of the bombs always at the forefront, particularly in the nervously shaking hands of these kids.
Few movies have captured this gut-wrenching sense of foreboding and sustained it.
Land of Mine screens as part of the Scandinavian Film Festival at Cinema Paradiso from July 21-August 3.
For tickets and information, go to www.scandinavianfilmfestival.com or www.lunapalace.com.au.
Land of Mine
Directed: Martin Zandvliet
Starring: Roland Moller, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Laura Bro
Review by Julian Wright
Danish Sergeant Carl Rasmussen (Roland Moller) with the group of German POWs in Land of Mine.