Director: Ben Wheatley Writer:Amy Jump
Starring: Julian Barratt, Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith, Ryan Pope and Richard Glover. UK. 1h 30m
A Field In England came out at a time when I was only just discovering how amazing Ben Wheatley is, after Sightseers (2012), Down Terrace (2009) and Kill List (2011) it was easy to see that he was quite a phenomenal director in his own write, and I especially admired his edition of the Dark Arts in kill List which seem to appear in a lot of his titles, and for quaint little twists that bound each kill victim together, maybe one day if he was related to another Wheatley who had mystified his audiences with the dark hearts back in the 70s??!!
But now he’s taking an historical turn with this unique black and white drama, Instead of speaking about the black hearts he’s going back to the original source, a group of men wandering around the English countryside during the civil war, after walking away from a battle; an act that they could easily have been hung for, they managed to hook up with a devout and cruel necromancer and fall under his dark spells, O’Neill (Smiley) terrorises the rest of the men and provokes them into helping him find a stash of treasure, while under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms.
The manner and which this gutsy bloody work is presented, is reminiscent of the sixties and seventies cinema art, wild hallucinogenic wild skies open up this mystical field and at the same time complicated slow motion scenes with the backdrop of one of the most powerful Blanck Mass songs creating the single most intense scene of any film in 2013.
By the end of the film I think the audience is probably as mind fucked all of the players, after being fed unusual mushrooms and become a vessel sto demonic forces, through the grunting and screaming, groaning and crying, there are various scenic and beautiful visions, which almost become as shocking as the violence. it’s hard to remember what the film was about, but it leaves a lasting impression while you’re watching.
With vacant stares and blank faces, the film is also highlight of with various folk songs which Wheatley seems quite enthusiastic to use in all of his films. It’s very clear but his toys are with Olde England, and with this clash of ideas comes a thrilling story through the hallucinogenic haze with left reeling trying to take in what I’ve just seen, visually stunning, hauntingly dangerous, we also become part of the spell of the necromancer within a field in England.
R: Kill List (2011), Down Terrace (2009) Hard to be a God (2013), The Seventh Seal (1957)
L: Modern Black and White films
5s : Ben Wheatley, Michael Smiley