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The trick about high concept movies is that when done right, they seem effortless. When done wrong they are a plodding, misshapen glob that begs the question, “What the heck were they thinking?” The new mystery suspense thriller Mine has a pressure cooker of an idea with a soldier stranded atop a triggered landmine and no conceivable way out except through certain death. Sadly, this one is a dud.

Mike (Armie Hammer) and Tommy (Tom Cullen) are perched on the ledge of a cliff somewhere in the middle east, with the assignment to neutralize, see “kill” the head of a terrorist cell during a hyper secret desert rendezvous. The soldiers botch the mission, are discovered, and hightail it into the vastness of the arid wasteland that stands between them and the nearest village. If only they had remembered the some 33 million land mines scattered across the landscape.

After stepping on one of the subterranean bombs, Mike freezes in place. One change in pressure and he could lose his life. With his battalion some 52 hours away and very reluctant to rush to his aide after flubbing a mission, Mike must endure sandstorms, wild animals, scorpions, and dehydration in a fight to survive while remaining in a position that would give Tim Tebow a run for his money.

The real dangers aren’t those from without, but those that swarm within his tortured mind. Written and directed by Fabio Guaglione and Fabio Resinaro, Mine ambitiously paints itself into a corner and forces itself to find ways to be interesting. The metaphor does not go unnoticed as our hero is “Mine”ing his memories and psyche in order to find the will to survive. But for this idea to work, those scenes need to be interesting.

Memories to his lovely wife back home give him the strength to endure while flashbacks of his abusive, alcoholic father keep him mentally on edge. The flashbacks attempt to open up the story to keep if from feeling anchored to one boring spot in the middle of a sandy wasteland but the glacially paced editing adds a fatty pace that could use a trim. In order for those scenes to offer a counterpoint of scope and clarity to our hero’s motivations and inner demons they have to be interesting. Here they just add to the uneven rhythm of the story.

The two leads in the film, Hammer and Cullen, hold their own and hit their marks. No complaints here in regards to any of the performances really. What kills this movie is the indulgent script and editing that slathers on the pomp of Saving Private Ryan with the survival tale of 127 hours and yet doesn’t know how to handle the pacing for such a creation.

Stranding a hero on top of a triggered land mine for nearly an entire movie is a trick best left to more resourceful writing, editing, and direction. While Hammer does a fine job anchoring this endurance test of a film he can’t save us from what is ultimately a dud.

Mine (2016) Directed by Fabio Guaglione, Fabio Resinaro Written Fabio Guaglione, Fabio Resinaro Staring Armie Hammer, Annabelle Wallis, Tom Cullen, Clint Dyer, Geoff Bell, Juliet Aubrey

Norm Gidney -

Norman Gidney was born in Fullerton California, just a few miles from Disneyland. Raised in Southern California, Norm began his love for the scare at the age of 5 by watching John Carpenter's Halloween. What followed was a lifelong fascination with the macabre, the suspenseful, and the wonderful world of Halloween. He set out on a quest to share his passion for all things spooky with the rest of the world by developing Gidney as January 2020 is a critic on Rotten Tomatoes.