Tag Archives: Roland Møller

Rock and a High Place


by George Wolf

My wife says if I can’t get through this without mentioning Die Hard, I owe her ten bucks.

So how much will The Towering Inferno cost me?

Get over it, right? Those are decades old.

Fair enough. Ideas are born to be borrowed, and the real question is how well Skyscraper assembles its inspirations. The answers come without apology, cranked up to full tilt boogie until the rubble-strewn, crowd pleasing finale.

Of course Dwayne Johnson stars as Will Seymour, a former Marine and FBI hostage negotiator now working as a security expert. A tragedy on his former job cost Will his left lower leg, but it led him to a perfect new life with his surgeon wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and their two cute kids.

Will’s hired to assess the security measures at The Pearl in Hong Kong, the world’s new tallest building that is ready to open its luxurious residential upper half. Will’s intimidated by such a large assignment for his small firm, but there’s a specific reason he got the call.

There’s something in The Pearl’s vault that is very valuable to international terrorist Kores Botha (Roland Moller), and Will is part of the plan to take it from the skyscraper’s visionary designer (Chin Han).

Who’s the fly in that high rise ointment? The monkey in the wrench? It’s The F. Rock

Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re the Millers, Central Intelligence) trades comedy for disaster thrills with the tangible relish of a kid trading flashcards for the latest XNintendoBox 64 in 3D.

The heroics are grand in scale, engulfed in flames and often unveiled with gasp-inducing effects that consistently poke at our fear of heights. The pace is quick, Johnson serves up his usual good guy charisma and Campbell gets to be more than just a loving bystander.

And it all could only be more ridiculous if Will and Botha got in the Face/Off machine and switched identities.

The film’s plot turns and callbacks get so shameless it nearly pauses for applause, but the commitment is so unabashed and the spectacle so summer-ready, Skyscraper wins you over with pure “are you not entertained?” tenacity.

Yippee Ki….psych!

Brutally Vital

Land of Mine

by Rachel Willis

Land of Mine is almost impossible to watch. Not because it’s bad. On the contrary, it’s an amazingly crafted film that boasts an incredible screenplay and cast. It’s hard to watch because writer/director Martin Zandvliet’s film is so intense it leaves the viewer on constant edge.

Roland Møller is Sargent Carl Rasmussen, a Danish soldier tasked with overseeing fourteen German POWs at the end of World War II as they clear a beach in Denmark of land mines. This violation of international law is a stain on Denmark’s history that Zandvliet brings to light. The thought of grown men forced to crawl across beaches searching cautiously for land mines is repellant enough. It’s made worse by the fact that many of the POWs were teenage boys.

Zandvliet’s scripts balances the emotions of the situation well, and Møller’s performance brilliantly captures the feelings of the Danish people. There is little sympathy for the German POWs. If anything, this is seen as a just punishment for the crimes committed by Germany during the war. However, the audience sees the soldiers for what they are: children who simply want to go home.

As the film proceeds, tensions mount. The history of the situation is brutal and bleak, so as the audience gets to know the characters, it’s impossible not to sympathize and worry for their safety with each moment that passes. The mental torture inflicted on the prisoners is felt by the audience as we’re forced to watch their slow advance across the beach. Moments of quiet could be rent apart at any moment. It’s nearly unbearable.

However, Zandvliet knows when to give the audience a break, and the scenes on the beach are countered by more lighthearted moments: a soccer game, the boys talking about their futures, and interactions between Rasmussen and the boys that show his shifting emotions.

Land of Mine is difficult viewing, but as Zandvliet brings empathy and compassion to a dark moment in history, it becomes equally vital.