Tense, thrilling and at times artistically crafted, ‘Mine’ grips from the opening minute and refuses to relinquish its hold through its runtime. There are portions of the film that rely a little too heavily on hallucinations and some of the military dialogue is inaccurate but I found this forgivable in this decent thriller about a man stuck standing on a live landmine for 52 hours. It could so easily have been contrived as being a rip off of 127 hours but there’s enough differences to make it stand out.
The story starts with two marines out in the middle eastern desert seeking out a target through the scope of a sniper rifle. Things don’t go to plan and lead sniper Mike (Armie Hammer) and fellow marine Berber (Clint Dyer) find themselves stuck in the middle of the desert heading for the nearest evac point – a village 6 hours away from their current location. The film zips along at a frenetic pace to begin with and when Mike inevitably steps on the landmine and finds himself stranded in the middle of a mine-covered desert, the pace dips along with the tone and feel of the film.
Whilst I welcomed the deliberately slowed pace, there will be some that find it jarring with the way it so abruptly does this. After such an action packed opening for 30/40 minutes, the film finally ends up with Mike trying to use his wits to survive 52 hours before the “convoy arrives” at his location to save him. Its tense throughout but these scenes in particular really up the stakes.If anything, these scenes that show Mike ttrying to use his wits to survive in the desert with what little he has are the most compelling parts of the film but its here that hallucinations and the inevitable cliches begin to rear their ugly head.
Armie Hammer is outstanding as Mike and his charismatic performance really elevates this film through the long stretches of time that he dominates the screen. His character motivations make sense and although the whole “I’m not really sure why I joined the army” motive is a little cliche by now, its done in such a way that its almost forgivable here.
Overall I would definitely recommend Mine if you like psychological thrillers or are a fan of these sort of “endurance disaster” films. With 127 hours, Everest and more to compete against, ‘Mine’ does a good job of casting its own shadow and whilst its never at the same level of some of the other films, this thriller is still worth watching.