This sounds like a children’s book. “And the gun goes bang and the knife goes snickt and the landmine goes click”. Since the premise is someone steps on a landmine and can’t step off, this also sounds like a rip-off of No Man’s Land, a bitterly funny political allegory about the Balkans. Only this movie is about American kids hiking in Georgia. The Georgia that Russia invaded, not the one where peaches and The Walking Dead come from. Maybe you wonder what else the director has done and you come across a movie called 247 Degrees. It’s about four people who get in a sauna, but then a stick falls over and wedges the door shut. Then a whole movie happens about four people sweltering to death because a stick fell over. No joke. I saw it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
So why would you bother with Georgia filmmaker Levan Bakhia’s Landmine Goes Click? Because all of the above fail to express what Landmine Goes Click actually is. Sure, it starts out as dopey as you feared. But just when you’ve resigned yourself to watching three whining American kids standing around in a field because one of them stepped on a landmine, something else happens entirely. Unfortunately, the press materials, any synopsis, or any other review would spoil it. And frankly, I’m not sure the movie is worth watching if you already know the something else. I’m not sure it works unless you’re blindsided.
As the ill-fated mine stepper, Sterling Knight could be described as Leonardo DiCaprio Lite. He has to carry much of the movie, and he’s almost up to the task. But the real star here is the movie’s willingness to get grimly uncomfortable. It almost recalls trashy exploitation movies from the 70s, but with a focus on the trashiness more than the exploitation. I’m also reminded of the Dutch horror movie The Vanishing for how it used a haunting two-act structure to tell the story of the unlikely evil done by a family man.
Director Bakhia sees his premise and twists through to their bitter ends, and without the typical American PG-13 soft-sell. If Bakhia deserves credit for anything, it’s his willingness to coldly commit to a story about people instead of hardware. The landmine was never the problem. The problem all along was the people capable of the same cruelty it takes to lay down landmines.
Landmine Goes Click is available for VOD. Support Qt3 and watch it on Amazon.com.