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SPOILER: In 1945, in Denmark, after the defeat of Germany, the tough veteran Sergeant Carl Rasmussen is assigned by Lieutenant Ebbe Jensen to defuse and remove 2.2 million mines in the Danish West Coast to make the beaches safe. Carl receives a group of teenage Germans prisoners of war to clear mines. With the formal promise of Ebbe, Carl tells to the youngsters that when the task is accomplished, the survivors would be released to return to Germany. After the initial hostility with the enemy, Carl realizes that the POWs are too young and befriends the boys. But when a mine in a clear area blows up his dog, Carl forces the boys to walk together on the safe areas to check whether any mine was left behind. Months later, the survivors complete their task but Ebbe sends them to another mined field. What will Carl do? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A Danish war-drama that was inspired by the historical account, but all the characters were fictional. Remember this title for another six month, because I am confident this film will make a journey to the west coast of the USA to compete at the 89th Academy Awards in the coming February. I have seen many foreign films, but I'm not this much positive for any others. If this film fails to make, then that would be a great disappointment despite having no idea of what are the other four films. So this is just for now, my stance may change later.
Anyway, the film was heartbreakingly amazing. The WWII stories I had seen those told from the perspectives of the Australian, Japanese, Korean, Russian to African and European to the American western sea, Hawaii. And this is a Danish story, sets in just after the end of the war where prisoners of the war were used to clean up the mess. In the opening the teen German POWs were trained to defuse the land mine explosives and then later the unit was handed over to the Danish sergeant Carl Rasmussen where they are all going to work in one of the west coast landmines that was used to defend the Scandinavia by the Nazi. That is the story told how it all ends in the remaining parts.
This was like another 'Kajaki', but not actually a war film. Using of the prisoners as the labourers is a violation, according to the Geneva rule. That's the point of the film, focused to reveal the inhume act. But it was not anything like 'The Railway Man' 'Unbroken' or the 'The Bridge on the River Kwai'. Watching a film about the brave soldiers inspires us and bring patriotism, but in this those teen kid screaming whenever something goes wrong really brings heartache. So not everybody feels comfortable with it, especially the family audience. But there were lots of edgy moments and you would never know what events follows.
"If they are old enough to go to war, they are old enough to clean up."
It was shot is the real location, and I think that part contributed to depicting the actual atmosphere where most of the POWs lost their arms and legs and some exploded into many pieces in the air. It was a simple narration, but the visuals talked itself more than anything else. All the actors were outstanding, especially those 4-5 German teens and of course the Danish sergeant Carl. I think the Carl's influence had more impact, after seeing the opening scene where he went outrage and beat up those German soldiers returning home.
There are a couple of small twists, but there are some scenes which are not easy to get over. Even though we know those were just fake, but that does not work once you totally into the story deeply. This is a different kind of emotional film, something you rarely experience. The director who is also the writer must be appreciated for handling it perfectly. Especially keeping the screenplay uncomplicated and between the two nations, where in the real event involves the British officials. I have never seen his other films, but this one will define him forth and the people are going to recognise him. So I hope he'll keep up doing such level films in the future.
I have never seen such film, I mean seen some where the kids were tortured, but this was very unique and totally a different perspective for that takes place in the backdrop of the WWII. Especially the Germans perspective is the very rare kind. So I'm kind of thinking if Germany picks 'Look Who's Back' for the Oscars, the contest between these two would bring two different moods. At this point I don't remember any Danish film I have seen so far in my life other than this one which I feel is the best Danish film ever. I mean, come on, who would do such film where your own nation, if not the whole nation, the one who represent was shown in the negative shade over the Nazi Germans. This is definitely one of the best films of the year. Highly recommended.
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