Review: Mine

6 10

PLOT: A soldier (Armie Hammer), fleeing a failed mission in North Africa, is forced to cross a minefield, only to accidently activate one of them. Knowing he’ll be killed if he removes his foot from the mine, he’s forced to endure sandstorms, insurgents, thirst, hunger and his own mounting desperation in order to last long enough for a rescue to be mounted.

REVIEW: It’s become stylish for leading men to take on these kinds of solo, one-man show “bottle” movies as a way of showing off their chops. It worked out pretty well for Ryan Reynolds in BURIED and Tom Hardy in LOCKE, and here’s Armie Hammer, playing a soldier unable to move from a minefield in MINE. As usual with films of this type, whether or not the movie works is wholly dependent on the star. No matter how stylish a director (or in the case of MINE – directors –Fabio Guaglione & Fabio Resinaro) may make it, if the performer isn’t interesting to watch, the movie won’t work.

Lucky then that Armie Hammer is such a damn charismatic guy. While several of his starring vehicles haven’t quite panned out, Hammer himself always does good work (I wasn’t a LONE RANGER fan, but his performance was solid). He’s been on a roll lately, with Luca Guadagnino’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME earning him well-deserved raves at Sundance, and Ben Wheatley’s FREE FIRE all but assuring him some measure of midnight-movie fame when it opens next month (I had a blast with it at TIFF). MINE isn’t as good as either of those movies, and plays out almost more as an acting/directing exercise than a full-on film, but it’s also fairly gripping, thanks mostly to Hammer’s inventive performance and a jaunty pace.

armie hammer mine

All that said, the first act of the film, which takes place before Hammer trips the landmine, is by far the best making one wish the landmine gimmick had been dropped. Or rather, how about having Hammer try to navigate the field rather than simply having him stand on the mine? Try as they do, Guaglione & Resinaro (credited as “Fabio & Fabio) can’t make one guy standing still for ninety minutes that exciting to watch, thereby limiting the potential audience. They do cut to a few flashbacks as Hammer remembers his fiancée back home (Annabelle Wallis – soon to be seen opposite Tom Cruise in THE MUMMY) and troubled upbringing. There’s almost a much-needed blast of action towards the end, but the rest of the film never quite lives up to the slam-bang open where Hammer and his spotter (an unrecognizable Tom Cullen) foul-up an assassination – sending them on the run.

While the gimmick is occasionally frustrating and makes me a bit reluctant to give MINE a full-fledged recommendation, there’s stuff to appreciate here – from the opening scenes to Hammer’s performance. “Fabio & Fabio” for sure have chops, but the one-man show device has been done to death, and there aren’t many ways it can be made interesting. Still, MINE occasionally manages to do just that – no easy feat.

armie hammer mine poster
Source: JoBlo.com
Tags: Maggie Smith



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