Land of Mine

land_of_mine_film_still_13_1The horrors of World War II didn’t end with Germany’s surrender. For all that has been documented of this time there are many stories relatively unknown, including a horrifying practice by the Allies and their treatment of German prisoners of war. Director Martin Zandvliet drew inspiration from real events to tell Land of Mine, a harrowing tale about revenge, compassion and innocence lost. The film had its Scottish premiere at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival with Møller in attendance. After the screening he was subject to a Q & A, offering great insight into the film. This is a story not often told, and one he hopes will become more known through Zandvliet’s film.

In May 1945 a group of very young German prisoners of war are assigned to the Danish authorities under the watch of Sergeant Carl Leopold Rasmussen (Roland Møller). Their instructions were to remove the two million plus mines from the West Coast that the German army had laid. With no equipment, these boys were expected to perform this dangerous task with their bare hands.

Zandvliet does nothing to shield the audience from this barbaric act, creating unbearable tension with each newly discovered mine. The camera lingers as the score goes quiet, creating an excruciating silence that makes for difficult viewing. That the soldiers are so young only heightens the emotions and highlights the sadness of their peril.

The lines of good and evil are blurred. These boys may have been on the opposite sides, but they’re soldiers by default and still children. Their childhood has been lost, yet it still linger, evident by their immaturity and camaraderie. Møller is outstanding as Rasmussen as he struggles with emotional conflict. He feels sheer hatred for the German soldiers but his empathy for the young boys becomes clearer as the mines take their toll. There is no clear shift in his personality, instead his humanity clashes with his military persona with Møller brilliantly pouring his sentiments onto the screen.

It’s not all doom and gloom as the director refuses to beat the audience into submission with unrelenting despair. The film is distressing but it’s also uplifting as the relationship between the boys and Rasmussen develops. He becomes a reluctant father figure to scared children that want nothing more than to go home. Land of Mine is a powerful drama that will leave you angry, sympathetic and likely in tears. It will stay with you long after viewing, it’s not a tale that will be easily forgotten thanks to this excellent drama.


Thomas Simpson
Follow me
Latest posts by Thomas Simpson (see all)

2 thoughts on “Land of Mine

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.