Mine [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Well Go USA
Review written by and copyright: Robert Segedy (19th June 2017).
The Film

Armie Hammer (what an ironic name for this film) stars in what is essentially a study in isolation when he fails to assassinate his target in a military operation, and ends up all alone in the dessert, with one foot precariously placed on a landmine. Mike (Armie Hammer) is a sniper, and his partner Tommy (Tom Cullen) is his spotter; together they are two marines on a mission in the middle of a dessert. Mike fails to pull the trigger at a crucial moment (in the middle of a marriage ceremony) and because of his hesitation, the enemy is alerted to their presence. This scenario establishes the character of Mike; he isn’t just a soldier that obeys orders, he is a human being with feelings and emotions and the conflict that his character feels is understandable. Tommy, on the other hand is a little more gung-ho; he tells Mike to take the shot, and to hell with the debate over right and wrong. Directors Fabio Guaglione and Fabio Resinaro are clearly more interested in creating a believable situation than simply portraying some soldiers in battle; what they do with this scenario makes up the bulk of the film.

The worst-case scenario is that both men are left behind by their comrades; they are told via radio that there is a nearby village about five hours away and that basically that they should start walking. Along the way we gather additional insight into the personalities of both soldiers; Tommy is married and has a four-year-old son that he adores. Every Tuesday he calls home and speaks with his son, but it doesn’t look like that call is going to happen today. Mike is more taciturn and he is not given to speaking his mind. He has a girl back home, but apparently there is an unspoken difficulty between Mike and Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), but Mike doesn’t want to discuss it. As the men walk through the arid desert there is a scene of a strong wind blowing a metal sign off a pole; it has a skull and bones on it, symbolizing the danger of buried land mines. No sooner does he do this, than the sign lands at Mike’s feet that Tommy, carelessly walking backwards and running his mouth, steps on a mine and promptly blows off both of his feet. Mike, now hyper alert realizes that he too has stepped onto something, and he realizes that if he so much as steps off the object, he is in danger of also being blown up. Tommy shoots himself up with Morphine and dispatches himself with a bullet to the skull; this leaves Mike trapped and alone.

The directors pose some basic philosophical questions to the character of Mike by his interactions with a Berber (Clint Dyer) that appears out of nowhere. The dialogue between the two men, one trapped and the other free, is at times absurd and approaches Beckettian levels of amusement, but nevertheless supplies some humor in a rather tense scenario. The Berber is a trickster type of character; he speaks in abrupt short sentences and asks Mike questions regarding why he is stuck in a life and death situation. The character of the Berber tells Mike that every step that you take could possibly result in death and so the answer is to keep on moving. At one point in the film, Mike puts on headphones so that he can listen to music and continuing with the irony, the filmmakers use of Nina Simone’s rendition of “Nobody’s Fault but Mine.” Mike truly has no one else to blame because ultimately everything he does is of his own accord, and that includes joining the Marines and ending up stranded in the desert. I couldn’t decide whether the directors were making a subtle statement regarding the occupation of US forces on foreign soil. The subtlety of the director’s statement may appear to be overbearing to some viewer’s, but I found that there was plenty of ideas to discuss and this should be motivating to most audiences. Much import is given the stance of Mike kneeling on one knee, and the director’s use this and scenes of Mike stepping into various situations in various flashbacks scenes and hallucinated moments that mirror his current situation. Again, I enjoyed the use of superimposed imagery to reflect various painful moments of Mike’s life including a raw scene of parental abuse from his father (Geoff Bell) and involving his mother (Juliet Aubrey) and a young Mike.

The desert plays an important role as the setting for the film; it is literally a death trap. Complete with wild animals, the untapped potential of the mines, the harsh elements without reprieve, and the enemy that is ever present but often unseen. These all add a realistic import to the film, and the continuing suspense that is constantly ratcheted upward caused this reviewer to feel stressed out and ultimately a tad uncomfortable. I must comment on the visuals of the film; by filming both in the studio and on location, the film feels totally authentic. The cinematography by Sergi Vilanova is top notch and the creative editing by the team of Flippo Mauro Boni, Fabio Guaglione, and Matto Santi is highly effective especially when Mike is starting to hallucinate and get flashbacks to his past. The use of sound is extremely effective; when a sandstorm appears on the horizon, we literally feel as if we were trapped right there with the protagonist, approaching helicopters are heard as well, mirroring the sounds from previous war films, such as "Apocalypse Now" (1979). The sound design is totally authentic, and the film draws the viewer in by enveloping them in a complex scene, both visually as well as aurally.

I find it interesting that there appears to be an entire genre of films that portray extreme isolationism; films such as "Buried" (2010), deal with a similar situation regarding a man buried alive; Robinson Crusoe dealt with a shipwrecked survivor on an island in several film versions, and Tom Hanks starred in "Cast Away", that portrayed one man against the elements stranded on an island. I guess that we could include the film "127 Hours" (2010) in that grouping as well. All these films address the issue of man dealing with extraordinary circumstances and facing not only the external elements, but also the issue of being stranded alone with no one else around for company. Sadly, we humans do not do too well in these situations, and the results usually include madness, hallucinations, and a complete breakdown of the human psyche. We shall see plenty of this behavior in "Mine". For me, that was a strong element of the film; there were various scenes that were a combination of flashbacks, fragmented memories, hallucinated moments that appeared to be real, all these as Mike struggles to survive extreme thirst and hunger, a momentous sandstorm, wild animal attacks at night, and the sun beating down on him. This combination of realism and surrealism makes this film a worthy experience.

Video

Presented in 2.40:1 widescreen 1080p 24/fps mastered in AVC MPEG-4 compression. The cinematography is excellent and you cannot tell what was shot on location versus what was done in the studio in front of a green screen. The only complaint was the scene where the wolves come out at night to attack Mike; they looked a bit too obviously as CGI images and detracted from the overall suspense of the film in general. The on location shots looked gorgeous and the desert is a spectacular sight; vast and never ending and dangerous.

Audio

Four audio tracks are included in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround, English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround, and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The English DTS-HD track displays a superb use of the sound design by Omar Abuzaid (Sound Editor), Mauro Eusepi (Foley Artist), Hector Martín (Sound Recordist), and Sandro Rossi (Re-recording Mixer/Sound Effects Editor). I completely felt like, I too, was stranded in the desert with Mike; the DTS Dolby is really put to good use and the audio experience is a memorable one. Optional subtitles are included in English only.

Extras

Well Go USA has included some extras, a collection of deleted scenes, two featurettes, storyboards, and a theatrical trailer, plus bonus trailers. Below is a closer look.

Deleted scenes, these are cut scenes that do partially appear in the final film:

- "Power Positive Thinking" (1:52) focuses on the conversation between the two men before they start walking across the desert.
- "Commitment" (2:21) Mike shows Tommy a picture on his phone of an engagement ring that he looked at but did not buy.
- "Confrontation" (10:02) this is a much longer piece of a conversation between the Berber and Mike that adds some depth to both characters and their motivations.
- "Quicksand" (1:32) while hallucinating Mike imagines himself being enveloped into a pit of sand under his feet.

"The Making of Mine" featurette, (13:01) A longer piece that features an in depth interview set with Armie Hammer as he talks about the various shots of the film, the difficulty of being on one knee for an extended length of time, how excellent the directors were to work with.

"VFX" featurette (4:57) us a piece that focuses on the various special effects that were utilized in making the film.

Storyboards (4:38) is an interesting comparison of the storyboards and the actual scenes in the film, accompanied by a throbbing soundtrack by Andrea Bonini.

Theatrical trailer (2:00) is included for the film.

There are three bonus trailers on the disc:

- "Buster’s Mal Heart" (1:19)
- "Greater" (2:28)
- "Cardboard Boxer" (3:22)

Packaging

Packaged in a standard Blu-ray keep case, first pressings include a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: A Audio: A Extras: B Overall: B

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.