Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Review: A Field In England

I can't believe I haven't seen…

A Field In England Poster

A Field In England (2013)
Cert: 15 / 90 mins / Dir. Ben Wheatley / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7

I have no idea what just happened. I think I enjoyed it? I didn't really understand it, but I think I enjoyed it. But y'know, that's Ben Wheatley, I suppose (I didn't get on with his earlier film Kill List, yet I adored Sightseers. Even though I can tell how similar they are. Explain that if you can).

Taking place during the English Civil War, shot and presented in black and white, with a minimal cast and a set consisting of fields (obviously), A Field In England is a borderline surreal experience at best. Reece Shearsmith brings his A-game as Whitehead, one of a group of opposing deserters who decide to forego the surrounding battle and withdraw to a nearby alehouse, when en-route they encounter the mysterious and brutal O'Neil (Michael Smiley), who captures the band and forces them to dig for nearby buried treasure. Sound weird? That's not the half of it. By the time witchcraft and hallucinogens kick in during the film's third act, it's like a post-Jacobean rave, and the best thing to do is appreciate the cinematography and performances.

Like I said, I think I enjoyed the film, but I know it won't be everybody's cup of tea, and I'm not even sure how much more I'll get out of it through a re-watch.

More of a hyper-animated classical painting than a film, A Field In England is like a hypnotic description of a nightmare you once had about the things you used to learn in History class.

Have you really never seen this before?
No, really haven't. It had a simultaneous cinema/VOD/DVD release, and I managed to miss all of them. The shame.

So are you glad you've finally have?
I'm glad I've finally watched it, yes...

And would you recommend it, now?
…that's a little more tricky.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Reece Shearsmith and Michael Smiley both appeared in Shaun of the Dead, as did perennial Prequel-basher Simon Pegg, who voiced the bounty hunter Dengar in season four of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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