An American soldier confronts near-certain death in the gripping and emotional thriller “Mine,” from writer-directors Fabio Resinaro and Fabio Guaglione, proving once again, war is hell.
Anchored by Armie Hammer’s superbly committed performance as Mike, a Marine sniper immobilized for more than two days atop a land mine in the North African desert (shot in the Canary Islands), the film is often a marvel of visual and narrative resourcefulness. But with its single primary location, blistering atmosphere, small cast and narrow focus, “Mine” may prove too grueling for some.
As Mike waits for an increasingly delayed military rescue, he must make the most of his meager supplies, precarious stance and dwindling physical and mental states. This while sharing his fixed space with the corpse of his decimated mission-mate, Tommy (Welsh actor Tom Cullen, deftly affecting an ebullient Southerner), fending off vicious wild dogs, enduring blinding sandstorms and more.
Although the details of Mike and Tommy’s original task — to take out a purported terrorist — and of the bigger military picture in general are kept to a minimum, the filmmakers masterfully employ flashbacks, mirages, dreams and video images to flesh out Mike’s history, which includes a lovely girlfriend, Jenny (Annabelle Wallis). Several poignant encounters with a soulful Berber (Clint Dyer) further illuminate.
An evocative score stirringly complements this skillfully shot and edited film.
Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes
Playing: In limited release; also on VOD.