LANDMINE GOES CLICK
You have to complement Levan Bakhia in that he has clearly made Landmine Goes Click for an international audience the film is shot in English and comes with American actors as its principals (as was also the case with 247oF). Moreover, the Americans are the sympathetic point-of-view characters and when it comes to the locals speaking Georgian, their dialogue is left unsubtitled. In other words, we have a film made by Georgians in which they treat their own country as a foreign land (and dont exactly show it as a welcoming place either). This is not dissimilar to a bunch of other films including Eli Roths Hostel (2005), 13 Tzameti (2005), Severance (2006), Them (2006) and I Spit on Your Grave 2 (2013), which treated Eastern Europe as a lawless borderland where there was the sense that the characters who venture there leave safety and civilised rules behind.
Landmine Goes Click comes with a great premise it is one where the title sells the film and tells you about all of the inherent tensions in its three words, which is not something you can say about many films. It reminds of one of the recent Conceptual Containment Thrillers that began with Phone Booth (2002), which had Colin Farrell trapped in the titular locale for the duration. Various other films followed suit, all attempting to place the central characters in as small a space as possible for the duration. These include the likes of Open Water (2003), which featured no sets, just two characters swimming in the sea surrounded by sharks; Black Water (2007), which took place in a tree with characters menaced by a crocodile; Wind Chill (2007), a ghost story that took place inside the front seat of a car; Buried (2010), which was set entirely around Ryan Reynolds trapped inside a coffin; Frozen (2010) with three characters trapped in mid-air aboard a ski chairlift; The Night Chronicles 1: Devil (2010) with characters trapped in an elevator with The Devil; ATM (2012) with three people trapped in an ATM booth by a killer; Detour (2013) with a man buried in a SUV; and Locke (2014) that took place entirely with Tom Hardy talking on a phone while driving.
On one level, you expect a film akin to Phone Booth with a man trapped in one spot unable to leave and the entire tensions to play out around that locale. On the other hand, Levan Bakhia keeps confounding what we expect. The film is filled with whiplash twists none the more so than what at the outset appears to be a story about an engaged couple going on a camping trip just before the wedding that is abruptly shattered when Sterling Knight inadvertently stepping on the mine, followed by the dark and savage twist that comes when we find that this has all been set up. Bakhia drags the tension out of Knight forced to stand there without moving and twists it further with the arrival of the comically menacing Kote Tolordava. During these scenes, the film sits in an interesting place, leaving you not sure what way it will lunge next although the scenes with Kote Tolordava playing games, forcing Spencer Locke to strip and undergo indignities every single time he has to translate a phrase via his walkie-talkie and why everyone has to obsess over what he says about his lunch to Sergei on the other end rather than pushing him to call for help drags the middle of the show out far too long.
The great surprise is the third act of the show where we [PLOT SPOILERS] abandon the landmine altogether and jump forward to the local township. It takes some time to work out what exactly is going on here before we realise that we are in the midst of another elaborate revenge scheme. (Revenge is a motif that runs throughout the film). It becomes of increasingly nasty irony as we then start to see Sterling Knight visit every degradation that Kote Tolordava forced Spencer Locke through onto his wife and daughter, before arriving at a savagely black ending.