Film Review – A Field in England (2013)

A Field in England

Title – A Field in England (2013)

Director – Ben Wheatley (Sightseers)

Cast – Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith, Richard Glover, Julian Barratt

Plot – Set in the English Civil War during the 1700’s A Field In England centers around a bunch of deserters trying to make their way to a pub for a bit of rest and a bit of ale. On the way to the pub these deserters come through a typical English field where suspect mushrooms, mysteries, dark magic and treasure await.

“Open up and let the Devil in”

Review by Eddie on 5/09/2013

Released earlier in July as a first in the film industry in regards to a release, A Field in England was out simultaneously at cinemas, VOD, rental shops, retail shops and on TV therefore becoming a strange release for a wonderfully strange film. When it gets down to it one thing about A Field in England is a sure bet – it will be a mainstay of cult filmdom for years to come. British dynamo Ben Wheatley has again crafted an incredibly unpredictable and off kilter film that defies categorization and requires a viewing to be believed.

A Field in England is a film that most surely is not for everyone, a film that will be on many a worst films list at years end but equally as many best of lists to. Centering his tale in the English Civil war circa the 1700’s Wheatley directs the movie in stark and often beautiful black and white and directs with a casual disbandment for any real logic or by the book traditions giving the film a uniqueness not often possible for movies in this day and age. That A Field in England works as well as it does is not only due to Wheatley’s hand behind the camera but his fantastic cast in front of the camera.

As a Wheatley mainstay Michael Smiley is as good as ever as shadowy Irish figure O’Neill but he is not the only impressive member of the cast. League of Gentleman’s Reece Shearsmith is what you would call the “hero” of the piece and does a fine job as cowardly yet knowledgeable servant Whitehead and Glover as bumbling Friend provides a great piece of character acting. Wheatley needed his cast to be fully on board with this mushroom trip of a movie otherwise not an ounce of it would of worked as well as it has as a finished product.

There is not much more to say about A Field in England other than it should be watched by all so decisions can be made as to how one feels about it. It’s a film that was obviously shot in a short time period (supposedly 12 days) and this can come across in certain scenes giving them a feeling of a rushed job but it’s not enough to ruin much of the fine work here. After this latest effort and a strong string of films beforehand (I couldn’t recommend Wheatley’s horror film Kill List more highly as a must see) it’s abundantly clear that Wheatley is one of the most exciting new voices in cinema today and someone to watch closely as he gets bigger projects off the ground all the while hopefully not losing his fantastic originality.

3 and a half field mushrooms out of 5

8 responses to “Film Review – A Field in England (2013)

  1. I did it enjoy it and there is no doubting it has some disturbingly unforgettable images. This is particularly impressive considering the budget. It is a must see for the ambition and uniqueness. I just found a real lack of substance (pun in there somewhere) and the final third to be a bit of a let down. There is no doubting Wheatley is a very talented director with an eye for visual flair.

    • I would agree with that call on that final third to. The lead up to that was just so intriguing and beguiling. I have read a few possible answers on that ending and story in general and it’s all pretty awesome.

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