Armie Hammer packs riveting intensity in Mine, a war story set in North Africa

BY NORBERT RUG

Mine was released in on April 7, 2017, in the United States after being released in Italy on October 6, 2016, by Eagle Pictures. It is available on Netflix

In the middle of the North African desert in a war-torn area that is filled with 33 million mines, Marine sniper Sergeant Mike Stevens played by Armie Hammer and his spotter Tommy Madison played by Tom Cullen are on a top-secret mission to assassinate a terrorist leader attending a wedding.

Mike fails in the assassination attempt because he hesitated when the terrorist’s son got in the way. Due to the glare of his scope, Tommy and Mike are detected and attacked by the enemy. A sandstorm causes the enemy to call off the search and Mike and Tommy call for help. They are told to make their way to a local village where they can be pulled out when the sandstorm is over.

On the way to the village, Tommy steps on a buried land mine and it blows his legs off. Mike then steps on a mine minutes later and when he realizes what he has done, he avoids stepping off it. Tommy, in excruciating pain, decides to shot himself because he didn’t want Mike to attempt to save him by stepping off the mine he is on. Eventually, a pack of wild desert dogs appears and drags off Tommy’s body.

Now Mike, now alone, contacts his superior who tells him that he will have to hold out for another fifty-two hours before he can be rescued. Exposed to the inhospitable conditions in the desert, Mike fights the physical and the psychological problems he finds himself in. He starts hallucinating imagining appearances of Tommy his girlfriend and his parents due to the lack of sleep. He feels he can’t fall asleep because he will step off the mime and lose his legs also.

I could relate to the sleep deprivation storyline presented. When I was in high school, a friend, Gordon Tracz, and I tried an experiment seeing just how long we could stay awake without sleeping.  We were playing chess after 48 hours of being awake and I swore that the chessmen were moving on their own. After 60 hours awake we both crashed. I slept for 12 hours.

Mike is visited several times by “the Berber” played by Clint Dyer, who long ago lost one of his legs and his only daughter to a landmine that he was going to dig up and sell to enemy soldiers. At this point, I wasn’t sure what was real and what Mike was imagining. The Berber, who fortunately speaks a little English, urges Mike to move off the mine and proceed with life asking “Why you want to step on a mine?” He maintains that Mike is a very lucky man because he survived a nighttime attack by desert dogs while managing to keep his foot on the mine.

I won’t spoil the film by revealing any more of the plot including the ending. I just want to say this was well worth the time watching it. So grab a bowl of popcorn and a large drink and be prepared to spend the next one hour and forty-six minutes being thoroughly entertained.

I give it 9 bags of popcorn.

 

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