Landmine Goes Click movie full length review - Human Echoes Review: Powerful, brutal, sometimes hard to watch.
Landmine Goes Click is an emotionally brutal experience. The monstrous darkness of the human soul is on full display. But for all of that it is a powerful story, and one you should see, if you have the stomach for it.
The setup for Landmine Goes Click is simple: Daniel and Alicia are engaged to be married and they're spending the last days of the their engagement hiking in the mountains of Georgia (the country, not the state) with their best friend Chris. But their vacation turns into a nightmare when Chris steps on a landmine. They're miles from nowhere and he can't move even a fraction of an inch for fear that the mine will explode.
Daniel heads back to civilization leaving Alicia and Chris alone. Alicia tries to dig a trench that might allow Chris to jump to safety, but after several hours, she's exhausted and not very far along. Then a local Georgian man named Iliya who had been hiking in the mountains shows up, and Chris and Alicia beg him to help them.
At first the man seems nice enough. Yes, of course he'll help. Yes, of course he'll do what they ask. Except?it's only fair that he receive something for his troubles, no?
And so he begins to play a sadistic and gut wrenching "game" with Chris and Alicia. I won't go into too much detail regarding that here, but suffice it to say that Landmine Goes Click should come with a huge trigger warning.
There's nothing gratuitous or exploitative about this sadism. It is nothing more than raw human cruelty taken to its worst extreme. And it's somehow made worse by the fact that Iliya isn't a cackling psychopath. There's an earnestness in his cruelty that makes it difficult to process. This isn't a monster. This is something worse.
After he's had his fun, and the landmine has been dealt with, Iliya leaves Chris and Alicia behind, and the story jumps forward in time.
Now we see Ilyia at home. He has a wife and a daughter. He tends bees. It's hard to reconcile this man with the sadist we've just seen ruin two lives. His life is fairly normal, his family seems happy.
And he doesn't hear when the friendly American traveler comes to the door asking for directions. Of course it's Chris. And of course, he's out for revenge.
Now the tables have turned completely. It's not just that Chris is now taking control from Iliya. It's that we see him as the monster now, and Iliya as the all too human victim.
This is the gut punch message of Landmine Goes Click: normal people, "good" people even, are capable of terrible things. We are all equally prone to cruelty and compassion.
The craft on display in Landmine Goes Click is incredible. The actors play their parts with gut-wrenching depth, particularly Kote Tolordava's horrifyingly human depiction of Iliya. The script brings an incredible amount of tension to of a story that essentially takes place in two locations, and the cinematography is confident without being too showy.
Landmine Goes Click could have easily devolved into a gory exploitation flick, or a triumphant revenge story, but wisely shuns both of these paths. No one wins in this struggle. There is no hero to ride off into the sunset.
This is a story of the hidden blackness in every human heart.
It hurts to watch. But it should not be ignored.
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