After a failed assassination attempt, a soldier finds himself stranded in the desert. Exposed to the elements, he must survive the dangers of the desert and battle the psychological and physical tolls of the treacherous conditions.
Genre : Thriller/War
Country : USA/Spain/Italy
Armie Hammer : Mike
Tom Cullen : Tommy
Clint Dyer : Berber
My opinion on “Mine”
“You’re a very lucky man.
You step on a mine and it doesn’t explode.
You spend the night in the desert and the animals leave you alone.
You’re a very lucky man, Mike and Michael!”
Guess it wasn’t that simple to do this. Making a film that focuses solely on an American marine named Mike (Armie Hammer) who stepped on a landmine and who doesn’t dare to take any further steps. For 90 minutes, there’s nothing else to see than this soldier who has to wait 52 hours for a patrol to help him. Help that comes too late for his partner Tommy (Tom Cullen). He won’t be able to break the record on the 100 meter sprint, as both his legs are spread over a few square meters after walking on a landmine himself. And, in my opinion, the thought of a leg-less existence was too much for him as well. And now Mike is standing, kneeling and balancing there in the middle of the desert on an unexploded landmine, exposed to the elements of nature and from time to time deep in thought. The ultimate survival test.
A lot of standing still.
So, don’t expect real action-packed scenes in this movie. Only the delusions and flashbacks as Mike gets more and more tired, are presented in multitudes. And an odd, funny looking Berber shows up occasionally to bring water and have philosophical conversations with Mike. And afterwards he disappears again over the next dune. Whether this Berber is real or just a figment of his imagination, is hard to say. Certainly, he gives Mike something to hold onto so he won’t go insane because of dehydration, the heat and lack of sleep.
A tremendous performance.
Hammer’s performance is solid and convincing. A man who tries to survive in dire circumstances and at the same time tries to come to terms with his past. A childhood filled with domestic violence from an aggressive, alcoholic father. To be honest, it’s not hard to be the star of a movie when you’re actually delivering some kind of solo performance and there’s no other role that has a decisive impact on the movie. In this case, Hammer has the stage completely for himself and he can demonstrate the talent he has as an actor. And that is the most commendable of this film. Despite the intriguing concept, the content is too limited.
You can also interpret this movie in a metaphorical way. Everybody tend to end up in a so-called mine field once in his lifetime. A difficult period in which making a thoughtful decision is necessary. But because of the fear of taking risks, one freezes and is scared of taking that next, crucial step. Sometimes it may be advisable to take a next step, allthough there are consequences, instead of standing still. A tremendous dilemma Mike is facing and something the enigmatic Gerber tries to explain to him all the time. Due to the subject and the total lack of action, you may call this a boring movie. At one point, one hopes that this bloody landmine would explodes. Just to stir up the tension. And yet, this movie managed to hold my attention and curiosity. Never thought that a non-exploding landmine could be so intriguing. And again, praise for Armie Hammer and his commendable performance.
My rating 6/10
Links : IMDB
Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula Review
After 2016’s hit Train to Busan wowed audiences around the world, the highly-anticipated sequel has finally arrived, and it doesn’t disappoint. Whilst it’s not quite as sharp as the first film, it still very entertaining and there’s still plenty of great zombie action to keep you engaged.
Peninsula is set 4 years after the zombie outbreak and after the first film. It’s a standalone sequel so you don’t need to have seen Train to Busan– although you really should seek it out because it’s great and it’s probably the best zombie films ever made by someone other than George A. Romero. Peninsula follows soldier Jung-seok played by Gang Dong-Won who receives an enticing offer to return to the quarantined peninsula to retrieve an abandoned truck filled with money. The mission goes wrong and Jung-seok and his friend get ambushed by a mysterious militia called Unit 631. All sorts of zombie chaos arise as Jung-seok must find a way to escape the peninsula once and for all.
Let me get straight out there and answer the question that’s on the minds of all Train to Busan fans, “Is Peninsula as good as the first film?”. No. Peninsula is definitely a step down from Train to Busan but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, far from it. The 2016 film had set the bar so high that it was very unlikely that Peninsula would be better. Train to Busan is one of my favourite zombie films of all time and whilst Peninsula isn’t as good, I still had a great time with it and thought it was very good.
The sequel definitely isn’t as sharp as the first one and it does suffer a bit from sequelitis as it feels like it must be bigger and bolder than its predecessor when, in fact, it doesn’t need to be. Train to Busan had lots of great zombie action scenes as well as scares but it was also very character-driven and had much more to it than zombies and blood. That’s where Peninsula falls down unfortunately. Whilst this isn’t a problem if you just want to watch an entertaining zombie film, the film is slightly disappointing if you were hoping it to be on the same level as Train to Busan. It gets a bit ridiculous in some of the action scenes, particularly in the final act, with it almost turning into a Fast & Furious film; perhaps a more appropriate title for it would have been 2 Train 2 Busan.
Saying that, the film doesn’t need to be compared to its predecessor. If you don’t expect it to be as good as the first film, you’ll have a great time with it. I definitely preferred Peninsula to the 2016 animated prequel Seoul Station and even on its own, I really enjoyed Peninsula and was very entertained by all the great action scenes. The film goes all out on trying to up the spectacle on the first film and if, like me, you love some good zombie mayhem there’s no reason you won’t really enjoy it. There’s action throughout and even though it’s more cartoonish this time around, it’s really good entertainment and great fun.
Overall, Peninsula isn’t as tight a film as Train to Busan but that’s alright, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with the zombies here and I had a thrilling time and it’s probably one of the best zombie films since its predecessor.
Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula will have limited cinema screenings due to cinema closures but it will be available on digital download from November 23rd and on all other formats from November 30th in the U.K.
FrightFest 2020 Review: Don’t Look Back
For the second time in 2020, the Arrow Video FrightFest has gone online after cancelling the physical event that was planned to take place in Leicester Square from October 21-25. Despite not being in person, FrightFest still has plenty of films and scares to be had.
Don’t Look Back is the directorial debut from Jeffrey Reddick who’s best known for creating the Final Destination film franchise. Reddick’s directorial debut has many similarities to Final Destination; in Final Destination, we see a group of people cheat death and so death comes for them. In Don’t Look Back, it’s karma that comes to kill them. Despite the similarities, Reddick manages to show that he’s got a lot to offer in the director’s chair.
Don’t Look Back follows a young woman called Caitlin, played by Kourtney Bell, who is still overcoming her traumatic past when she, and a few others, witness a man being attacked in the park and none of them do anything to stop the attack. The witnesses including Caitlin then start getting targeted by someone, or something out for revenge.
The film begins with phone-footage of witnesses watching people being attacked. Instantly the film starts to make you question what you would do in these situations and if you would just stand and watch or would you be the one to intervene and to help the victims?
Don’t Look Back gets straight into it as very early on we get a scene that gets straight into the action and sets up the trauma that Caitlin then experiences for the rest of the film. Whilst the films does get straight into it at the start, it does go a little quiet for some time. One slightly disappointing thing about the film, particularly when compared to Final Destination, is that there are very few scares in this film. There isn’t much blood or gore or actual horror to it which is a shame, but the film is still entertaining without any of that.
The film plays a lot on the idea of karma ad it’s an interesting concept to play about with although at times it can be a little too on the nose. Sometimes all of this, in particular the film’s opening, and the idea of karma is just waved in the audience’s face far too explicitly and perhaps a slightly more subtle approach would have been better.
Overall, whilst Don’t Look Back isn’t anything too exciting or different and it could do with a few more scares, it’s not bad and fans of Final Destination will definitely enjoy it and have a good time with the film.
Don’t Look Back is in cinemas and available on-demand in the US now
LFF 2020 Review: Possessor
London Film Festival is almost over and there’s been a lot of good stuff over the last couple of weeks. The 64th BFI London Film Festival has been all across the UK, inviting you to experience the world’s best new films wherever you are. Twelve days of UK premieres available to enjoy online via BFI Player or in cinemas at BFI Southbank, around London, and throughout the UK.
Possessor (also known as Possessor: Uncut) is the latest film from Brandon Cronenberg, son of David Cronenberg, who’s known by horror enthusiasts as the king of body horror. Brandon has clearly learnt from the best as could be seen from his 2012 debut film Antiviral starring Caleb Landry Jones. Brandon’s second feature film, Possessor premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January and was released in America and Canada on October 2nd. I managed to catch an early preview of it at London Film Festival before it’s UK release at the end of November.
The film follows Andrea Riseborough’s Tasya Vos, an agent who inhabits other people’s bodies through a new technology and in doing so she commits assassinations to benefit her company. But slowly she starts to lose control over the system and finds herself trapped in the mind of Christopher Abbott’s Colin when trying to kill his father (Sean Bean).
Right from the start Possessor is a very gruesome and gory film. It opens with a very brutal and bloody killing that throws us straight into the futuristic world of the film. If the name Cronenberg on the poster didn’t already tell you, within minutes, we know that this film is not going to be one for the faint-hearted. The premise of the film is a little over the top, with the whole idea of inhabiting other people’s bodies and being able to control them. But it’s one that Cronenberg handles with ease and skill. As well as gore.
The film is disturbing but it’s carried out in a stylish manner so that it never really feels too disturbing. If you’re not a horror fan, or if you’re not someone that can handle much gore, then this isn’t a film for you. But if you relish the films of David Cronenberg then you should definitely seek out Brandon’s film.
Whilst the film does have its ultra-violent moments, there’s more to it than that; Andrea Riseborough gives a good performance in the lead role and helps bring life to the main character and the world the film takes place in as well as the bodies Tasya takes over. There are a lot of interesting ideas to unpack in this film and whilst Cronenberg doesn’t really get a chance to deal with them all in sufficient detail, he takes a good stab at it.
Overall, Brandon Cronenberg has created a film that’s a clear step up from his debut film and a welcome addition to the body horror genre that leaves you shocked but also excited to see what he goes on to make next.
Possessor is released in U.K. cinemas on November 27.