Film Reviews and Discussion.
Dir: Ben Wheatley
Duration: 90 minutes
Tripping across the countryside. Fighting can be a drug. But so can mushrooms.
Ben Wheatley takes a turn down the sublime and ridiculous in this twisted and darkly comic feature on the English Civil War. Offering no coherent plot strands for the first-time viewer, this is a dizzying tumble into the drug-addled, battle weary mind of war patrons fleeing and journeying across the green pastures of the English countryside on the hunt to find the beacon of solace that is an ale house. En route, they are hi-jacked by two mercenaries and forced to look for treasure that might be buried within the field.
Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley have written this feature but it is less a success of its writing than a triumph of visual technique/s. It is exquisitely and beautifully shot in monochrome. As matters unfold you become more and more convinced that you are in the presence of a virtuoso within his field (pun not intended). This is Wheatley’s extravagant dalliance into the realms of the psychedelic, inspiring awe with his control of the medium. Some of the images are genuinely disturbing. In one scene, a man emerges from a tent with a rope around his neck and proceeds to walk out in slow motion. It has to be seen to be believed. It is ineffably haunting.
This is not an easy film and it will certainly not be everyone’s cup of tea. It is extremely difficult to pin down and its narrative arc is not probably worth too much close analysis. If you’re a David Lynch fan, and appreciate something along the surrealistic lines of Inland Empire (2006) or Blue Velvet (1986) you will surely appreciate the work done here. I imagine it is likely to be a tiring experience for everyone else though, so the characters in this film might not be the only ones looking for an ale house after proceedings fade to black.
You can find the trailer for A Field In England here: