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Fleeing for their lives, a small party abandon their Civil War confederates and escape through an overgrown field. Thinking only of what lay behind, they are ambushed by two dangerous men and made to search the field. Psychedelia, madness and chaotic forces slowly overtake the group as they question what treasure lies within the malignant field.Written by
Released simultaneously at cinemas, in stores, on TV and VoD on the 5th of July 2013. See more »
Friend. My business with your man is concluded. If 'tis all the same, I might bob off now. I confess I feel peaky. Could you do a few hours' kip?
Do not address me as friend and do not speak to me directly again. Otherwise I'll turn you into a frog.
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I was really excited for Ben Wheatley's latest film. I absolutely loved Kill List and proclaimed it as the best British horror film since Eden Lake (which I love) and when I saw the trailer for A Field in England I thought that it looked right up my street. The trailer was packed with weird imagery and great music and when I realised that it was going to be on the TV I almost fainted (OK a bit of an exaggeration there, but I was very excited). People keep saying that releasing a film on DVD, TV and on the cinema is the future, but I'm not convinced. It might work better for small low-budget films like this but with a highly anticipated Hollywood blockbuster? It would definitely lose money and Hollywood would not be happy. But anyway that's another debate. I decided to catch A Field in England on the TV via recorder and watched it with much anticipation... I was disappointed.
One of my biggest problems with the film is that it is very slow. A good 40 minutes of the film is dedicated to a group of deserters talking and walking. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of character development, but 40 minutes of little action outside a man having a poo in a field is just too tiresome. However, there were a few funny moments. Things get a little more interesting when Wheatley's favourite, Michael Smiley comes in to the story. He's quite a menacing character who successfully shakes things up a bit. There's also a really great weirdly intriguing moment where a character exits a tent in slow motion with a rope attached to them which promises good things. However, soon after things get boring again with talking and digging.
I also found some of it quite difficult to follow, due to the Olde English dialogue, but I may be on my own there, as I'm a bit thick. Things start to get interesting when a character gorges on a load of magic mushrooms and we are treated to a wonderfully weird hallucinogenic trip, which must be the closest thing to being on hallucinogens since David Lynch's mesmerising Inland Empire. There are loads of flashing images, weird imagery and an unsettling droning score to go with it and it's undeniably unique. I've seen some weird films (weirdest being Conspirators of Pleasure) and this sequence is unlike anything I've seen before. After this things get incomprehensible and it's very difficult to follow.
Normally I would enjoy a Lynchian mind F but it started to feel monotonous and dull at times. Although, I did enjoy the beautifully shot shootout at the end. The film is very stylish, the black and white works very well, the directing is enchanting and the editing is impeccable at times. The film just needed a much thicker plot to go with it all and then there would be a winner. It's something I definitely need to see again to fully appreciate, but as it stands now my feelings towards it are very mixed. Love it or hate it, it's a haunting film that will stay with you for a few days at least which isn't such a bad thing. Is it?
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