Explorer Of Movies’s review published on Letterboxd:
Thanks a lot DisposbleMiffy for this wonderful recommendation.
I had not heard of this great movie even once before he mentioned it.
This is the plot intro of the movie in Letterboxd. It is a Danish-German historical war drama.
In the days following the surrender of Germany in May 1945, a group of young German prisoners of war is handed over to the Danish authorities and subsequently sent to the West Coast, where they are ordered to remove the more than two million mines that the Germans had placed in the sand along the coast. With their bare hands, crawling around in the sand, the boys are forced to perform the dangerous work under the leadership of a Danish sergeant.
* This was a really great movie. The story, the acting, the writing and direction, everything about it was great. But I am still confused about this movie. With the question, who is right and who is wrong? I honestly don't know the answer. It's easy to understand the anger and hate of all non German soldiers and Danish citizens in this movie towards the German POWs (Prisoner Of War). It is easy to understand their decision to force the Germans clean up their mines before allowed to go home. They created such a mess after all. Germany acted like a horrible monster during Second World War and the anger against them is natural and justified.
But it is also hard not to sympathize with the German soldiers (who are mostly young boys, definitely less than 18) and their plight. (What a horrible fucking demon Hitler was 😠😠)
I don't think there is a right answer to this question. Second World War produced such complex questions for humanity, that's all I can say. And as this movie confronts the viewers with such questions, deeply troubling complex questions, it is really a very meaningful watch.
* There is a book written by the late great Christopher Hitchens called "Love, Poverty and War". In his opinion these three are the experiences which make us really understand the truths about life. This movie (like many other great war movies) is a proof for why he chose war. Humanity is brought to extremes of their emotions, whether it is hate, forgiveness, sympathy or anger during such an overwhelming event. I wish we all get fortunate enough to experience it only through movies.
* Martin Zandvliet who masterfully wrote and directed this film successfully captures not just the tense mine defusing scenes but also the quiet moments. An example is one of the German soldier, a very young boy with an insect in his hand, admiring it, arguing playfully with another what to name this insect. The writer/director made a brilliant job of turning this historical fact into a very watchable fiction. That included many sub plots, almost all, which get successful narrative conclusions.
* It is an automatic thriller in a lot of scenes exactly like 1917 was. There, when will our protagonists get shot at was the tense thrilling factor. Here it is the mine defusing scenes which provide the same tension. It was unbearable at times.
* I especially enjoyed the performances of Roland Moller as the Danish sargent and Louis Hoffman as the leader of the POWs. All the other actors did a great job as well. The twins were really amazing.