A Field in England Screen 14 articles

A Field in England

2013

A Field in England Poster
  • Not only is A Field In England a film which defies explanation, it wantonly repels it. It’s less a film, it’s a filmed art school stag do. Unlike Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey which synthesised the experience of an acid trip for the enjoyment of all the family, this is a film which can only be understood and enjoyed while in the heady throes of some toxic freakout.

  • A Field In England is [Wheatley's] first period piece, and a decided departure, but he still seems primarily interested in goosing the audience for the sheer fun of it. Shot in black and white, the film is no more than the sum of its empty gestures, as Wheatley tosses in whatever arresting idea occurs to him...

  • The use of the countryside landscape and character behavior brings to made some of Ozualdo Candeias experiments with imploding popular cinema from within. As with his other films, except for Kill List, its tone is all over the place and always on the verge of fall apart. As a shotgun marriage of exploitation and experimental film, it remains consistent interesting if maybe more clever than successful.

  • This is far and away Wheatley's weirdest film yet (although admittedly I haven't seen Down Terraceyet), but I feel like I can catch its general drift, even if its moment-to-moment maneuvers elude me. A Field in England strikes me very definitively as a psychedelic Peter Watkins film, a Cullodenesque riff on historical reconstruction as slapdash vérité.

  • If noting that Ben Wheatley's latest plays like a heady mix of Samuel Beckett, Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man, and Monty Python riffing on The Seventh Seal doesn't exactly add much to the critical conversation, I think it nevertheless goes some way toward providing a sense of how pleasurable (if occasionally trying) and strange a film this is.

  • The film's main achievement is its tone. Consistently oblique and off-balance, it thrives on tensions both thematic and stylistic... A Field In England is most successful when it lets these tensions manifest themselves organically; when it pushes too far in one direction or the other, often when it's trying to add humor to the proceedings, it treads too close to gimmick.

  • In the manner of certain bawdy, bloody works of 1960s and 1970s art cinema, not to mention psychedelic midnight flicks from the same era, it's all over the place and often seems to be trying too hard to accomplish goals it can't quite articulate... Shot in mostly handheld black-and-white wide-screen images, this is a deeply, at times exclusively visceral film. It aims to wring out, mind-eff and visually beat up its viewers, and cast a malevolent spell in the process.

  • Story is secondary – if that – in Wheatley’s world. This is a film built on sensation, misdirection and randomness. The result can be maddeningly obtuse, but it’s also breathtakingly lovely and genuinely unsettling.

  • This occult, absurdist journey conflates the English Civil War with seventeenth-century practitioners of Magick and their handy employment of hallucinogens—using a mushroom-fueled treasure hunt as pretext for considerable goth havoc and grungy invective packed into a tight ninety-minute workout.

  • While [co-screenwriter Amy] Jump sets up fairly clearcut oppositions between the men of reason (the scholar Whitehead, who remains clueless about the way of the world), pagans and peasants, wherever possible Wheatley means to confuse and confound, to pull the rug out from under us, and himself too. It’s a welcome, unruly impulse in a filmmaker so early in his career, a defiant signal that Mr. Wheatley is not going to be pigeonholed as easily as all that.

  • [Wheatley and Jump] imbue their supernatural Civil War–era tale A Field in England with Sixties psychedelia (strobe effects, Rorschach hallucinations) and modern urban diction persuasively applied to archaic vernacular dialogue. The strategy is not unfamiliar but, aided by Jim Williams’s ethnic ambient score, the fusion is so successful here that it makes the strangeness of mystic Albion come stunningly alive—notwithstanding the playful, ribald storytelling.

  • Even more than in Wheatley’s previous work, the feeling here is of a filmmaker exhilaratingly striking out on his own idiosyncratic path – and perhaps not caring too much whether he’s bringing all his public along with him.

  • Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England, winner of the Special Jury Prize, was the boldest film in competition and also the most exhilarating. By far Wheatley’s most experimental work to date, it constitutes one of those felicitous instances in which a talented director is given a relatively small budget and free rein, resulting in a wildly inventive film bursting with contagious energy.

  • Ironically Field feels at once more artful than Nothing Bad [Can Happen] and more satisfying as pulp entertainment. Jump's wicked sense of humor and Wheatley's psychedelic visuals advance a distinctive worldview, making a wild ride of the characters' descent into madness.

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