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A Field In England: Is This Heaven? No, It’s a Field

October 8, 2014

A Field in England movie poster

About an hour into A Field In England we get this exchange between a dying man and his friend:

Friend: When you get to the alehouse, see a way to get a message to my wife.

Jacob: Anything, Friend. Anything.

Friend: Tell her… tell her I hate her. Tell her I did burn her father’s barn. ‘Twas payment for forcing our marriage. Tell her I loved her sister. Who I had. Many times. From behind. Like a beautiful prize sow.

Jacob: If I’d have known that, I would have paid you more respect, brother.

Ben Wheatley’s A Field In England is a wonderfully odd vision from a guy who has delivered some unique visions. His other films Down Terrace, Kill List and Sightseers were marvels of violence, oddity and dark humor. Ben Wheatley’s films walk a fine line of insanity, depravity and watchability. I’ve never felt drained after a Wheatley film. I’ve felt exhilarated because of how singular the experiences are.

A Field In England revolves around four men deserting an English Civil War battle and making their way to an alehouse. Along the way they ingest mushrooms, wax poetic and awake an Irish Sorcerer. The Sorcerer is looking for treasure and exerts control over the gang via torture, weapons and decent clothes.

field in england

If you are looking for something that wraps itself into a neat little bow A Field in England will not be for you. The Drafthouse Films (You need to watch Cheap Thrills) released movie is confounding, trippy and all around wonderful. The narrative flies around and the editing creates a psychedelic atmosphere of unpredictability.  What makes it work is the demented yet trustworthy tour guide. The movie seems to be playing fast and loose but Wheatley and writer Amy Jump have it under control.

A field in England

Wheatley and Jump create a lot with little and the film will certainly gain a devoted following. I love how it was shot in 12 days on a meager budget yet still looks and feels epic. What Wheatley does is a rare thing. He stays out of the mainstream and keeps delivering odd delights. The cinema world needs a unique voice like his and I can’t wait for his next film.


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