Landmine Goes Click movie full length review - Adequate psychological thriller that could have been much better with bolder choices and more confident direction
Despite its awkward title, "Landmine Goes Click" is a decent low-budget psychological thriller that uses its limited resources effectively.
It's basically a tale of revenge that goes awry, giving rise to another revenge plot. However, it seems like it could be a much better film in more confident hands. The director seems more concerned with keeping the film in the PG neighborhood than pushing the envelope to make it more terrifying, startling or disturbing.
It's surprising to see "nudity" as one of the plot keywords, as there is no nudity. However, the film desperately needed nudity, especially for Alicia's character, as it would have made her more vulnerable and made Ilya creepier. Instead, the scene seems very self-conscious. It seems obvious the director is avoiding nudity and the choices of costume, blocking and lighting make little sense other than to preserve the actress's modesty and possibly the film's chances for a PG rating. There is a reversal of fortunes plot twist that is so difficult to see that it requires explanation in a later scene. Part of the problem seems to be that they simply ran out of time and light, but the contrived blocking also detracted from the scene's impact.
One distracting aspect is that the characters often seem to be miming actions. Alicia frantically digs a hole, but doesn't move much dirt and doesn't get dirty. A Rottweiler attacks somebody, but doesn't actually bite. Ilya fiddles with his beehives, but doesn't remove any honey. A family sits down to dinner, but nobody eats anything.
Sterling Knight does well in the lead role. Spencer Locke isn't given much to do with a fairly one-dimensional character, but doesn't do much to make the character more interesting than it was written. Ilya seems to have his hands tied. He could have been much more menacing and done more in the first half to compel the actions that follow. With one character stuck with his foot on a landmine, it falls to two other characters to give the scenes both tension and dynamics, but they circle one another like wary fighters without doing much interaction. There is little physicality to their conflict and their verbal sparring is hampered by language barriers.
The events in the first part should have given rise to two acts of revenge, but only one is seen and it's the less important of the two. A huge chunk is left out of the middle that would have entailed a police investigation which would have made some characters aware of the actions of another character, but somehow it didn't happen. The plot seems a bit contrived.
The movie consists of basically two lengthy set pieces. It feels a bit like a stage play and might be very effective as such.
The camera-work seems to be nearly all Steadicam, but it's done fairly well. The camera movement is slightly distracting, but not nearly as bad as in many films.
The first half is a little slow and uneven, but the film picks up steam with the second act when some roles are reversed.