• Unrated, 1 hr. 30 min.
  • Drama, Horror
  • Directed By:
    Ben Wheatley
    In Theaters:
    Feb 7, 2014 Limited
    On DVD:
    Apr 8, 2014
  • Drafthouse Films

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A Field in England Reviews

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DragonEyeMorrison
DragonEyeMorrison

Super Reviewer

November 14, 2013
A pointless exercise in pointless nothingnes. Seriously, critics are bashing Only God Forgives and praising this? Go figure.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2013
Ben Wheatley once again gives us something new albeit influenced by classic British film making. Five men in a field with a bit of smoke seems a bit too simple, given that it is supposed to be during a huge battle but it works really well. With Reece Shearsmith and Julian Barratt in the cast I was expecting a comedy, and it sort of was, but not really in League of Gentlemen way and certainly not in a Mighty Boosh way (none UK residence might want to google both of those). It is funny, scary, surreal and eerie. It premiered on TV, DVD and Cinema simultaneously which was an odd choice but then this film has odd written all over it. The performances are brilliant, the cinematography is brilliant, the story is brilliant and the script is brilliant. Probably a future classic but will divide audiences in half for sure.
Liam G

Super Reviewer

July 7, 2013
Bizarre and arresting at times, but also audacious and thought-provoking, Ben Wheatley's latest film ultimately works because of its mood, visual style and performances.
themoviewaffler.com
themoviewaffler.com

Super Reviewer

June 30, 2013
In 1648, during the English civil war, four men desert the battle, setting off in search of the nearest alehouse with plans of drinking and whoring. After eating a soup made with magic mushrooms, they encounter a mysterious Irishman, O'Neil (Smiley), who seems to exert a controlling influence over them. O'Neil enlists the aid of the men in finding treasure he believes is buried in a certain field. As the search progresses, the men begin to behave increasingly irrationally until deciding to fight back against O'Neil, who they've come to believe is the devil himself.

Take the seventies folk-horrors of Tigon, the early period fables of Ingmar Bergman, throw in a touch of Ken Russell and pepper with the odd musical number. Sounds like a recipe for either genius or travesty but the truth is Wheatley's film is merely a middling diversion. I suspect the average film-goer will avoid this like the plague but those of us with more catholic tastes will find it a mildly amusing diversion. Like Wheatley's previous two films, 'Kill List'and 'Sightseers', an engrossing set-up is let down by a poor final act. The initial mystery is thoroughly involving, and peppered with moments of sharp wit, but towards the end it becomes clear the scriptwriter is no more clued in than the audience. Shot on digital, at times it looks like footage of a civil war re-enactment. Film would have made this a lot more involving. The period film is the one genre which really suffers in the new format.

Ultimately, Wheatley's film will be remembered for its ground-breaking distribution model. On the 5th of July, in the UK, the movie will be released in cinemas, on DVD, Blu-Ray, Video on Demand, and online streaming. Most revolutionary of all is the fact that it will be broadcast the very same evening on the free to air movie channel Film4. At first this sounds like commercial suicide, until you look at the numbers. 'A Field in England' was made for a mere £300,000 while it's estimated that the average hour of UK drama costs £650,000. This means Film4, who funded the film, are getting 90 minutes of TV at a third of the regular price, while making even more from sales of cinema tickets, discs and online and VOD rentals. If successful, (and how can it not be?), this could revolutionize the UK's low budget film industry. If Film4 get behind this, they could do for the next generation of UK film-makers what Corman did for American talent in the sixties and seventies, providing a platform not available in mainstream cinema.
John B

Super Reviewer

September 3, 2013
This is listed as a 'horror' film which I don't quite understand. It took me a long time in contemplating afterwards thinking about whether or not I liked this film..and I don't know if have landed on an internal resolution. There were aspects that I loved and others that completely baffled me.
Luke E

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2013
Had another taste of Ben Wheatley ast MIFF with his latest effort. 'A Field in England' was a huanting, insightful, phychedelic trip into the unknown with a fascinating backdrop and some truely engaging and fierce conflict between the characters. I wouldn't recomend it to those new to Wheatley's films, unless you have the guts or insight for such a determined and fierce film. Definitely one of the most inventive films I've seen at MIFF so far.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

June 19, 2013
Audacious but confusing, this tripppy flick is funny, scary, frustrating, and gets under the skin, I need to see it again.
David S

Super Reviewer

February 23, 2014
This film was just to surreal for me, especially after 'Sightseers'. The whole thing looks beautiful and I applaud the film-making skill but it asked too much of me as an audience member and I wasn't in the mood to follow where it led.
Francisco  G.
Francisco G.

Super Reviewer

October 6, 2013
A Field In England is neither an evolution nor a step back for Wheatley's already very varied and rather unique career, with only a bunch of films made in a short time span.

This is a random existencial comedy, with clear influences from Tarkovsky, despite being very british at it's core. It's funny, surrealistic, trippy, pointless, maddening, pretentious, difficult but extremely pointless while at it. It's a trip worth enduring, cause you'll definently feel something "unique" and "strange" while watching but will ultimately leave you very hollow inside.
February 11, 2014
I think I liked this movie, but I can't tell... it's manages to strike an exact balance between too-weird and enjoyable. Tarkovsky meets spaghetti westerns and yet, wholly British. I almost wish it was weirder though... I liked the tableaus, but I was unimpressed by the trip-out sequence.
June 28, 2014
if you've ever done them or watched a group of people on them whilst sober, you'll completely get it.....if not, well, you should!
November 17, 2013
While the film did have some interesting visuals and beautiful black and white cinematography, it was a little boring and confusing. Perhaps I'll appreciate it more on a second viewing, but for now it's probably my least favorite Ben Wheatley film.
Ayden W.
May 29, 2014
A bizarre film that doesn't know what it's trying to tell us. A Field in England is original and contains some strange, surreal imagery, but the plot is convoluted and the frequent segments of oddity will only appease the most esoteric watcher.
July 14, 2013
A Field in England is a compellingly psychedelic experience, that leaves an impression that's hard to shake off thanks to Wheatley's daring film-making experimentation.
December 27, 2013
Massively overrated (cinematography decent, big names all 'round). Otherwise batshit.
Ky K.
April 28, 2014
A surreal trip to madness with an ominous (and interesting) cinematography; though it turns very psychedelic by moments.
April 25, 2014
I still don't know how much I like it, but it is definitely beautifuly directed and acted, original, interesting and Mesmeriiiizing !
April 18, 2014
Ben Wheatley adiciona mais uma obra de originalidade ao seu curriculum. "A Field in England" tem momentos de drama, terror, comédia e é totalmente desprovido de diálogo de exposição até ao ponto de se tornar bastante confuso, mas nos aspectos de cinematografia visual e sonora é um exemplo de excelência da expressão artística do cinema.
April 18, 2014
A Field in England (Ben Wheatley, 2013)

Four men walk across a field. One of them carries a pike; the other three are unarmed, which is somewhat odd considering that all four of them are, in various degrees, deserters from a battle taking place on the other side of a hedgerow from where they initially met. (What battle this is, presumably, I have been unable to figure out; the First English Civil War was over by 1648, but Cutler specifically mentions Oliver Cromwell at one point; I think Cromwell at the time was over in Ireland quelling the natives there in 1648.) One of them, Whitehead by name (Shaun of the Dead's Reece Shearsmith), is an educated man, apprentice to an alchemist, and he is on a mission. The others-Jacob (Starred Up's Peter Ferdinando), Friend (Malevolence's Richard Glover), and Cutler (Velvet Goldmine's Ryan Pope)-he's the one with the pike-are all men who had been more directly involved in the combat. But here I'm getting ahead of myself; at this point, the four of them are simply walking across a field. That scene, a long, stationary take about fifteen minutes into the movie, reminded me strongly of a similar scene, coming at roughly a similar time, in Meek's Cutoff, where the three wives are walking in a very composed, very studied diagonal line behind the covered wagon. That sort of deliberate composition pervades A Field in England, as well, more so than any of Wheatley's other films to date. It is a film that revels in its artifice, and because of that, I think, it's going to end up being polarizing; those familiar with Wheatley will find it either his best feature or his worst. I fall on the former side, just as I did with Meek's Cutoff.

As I said, the four of them are no longer a part of the battle. Cutler, the pragmatist of the bunch, recognizes that the four of them are basically deserters, then proposes the four form a band of their own, and cement the bond over a good meal at an alehouse in the area he knows of. They agree and start off across the field. (It is here that the scene described in the opening paragraph takes place.) They cross a line of mushrooms and, with far to go still, stop and work on filling their empty bellies. That, it turns out, may not have been the best idea, both because the mushrooms themselves would seem to be hallucinogenic, and because they are part of what would seem to be the border of England's largest fairy ring. However, during the meal, Whitehead asked the other three to help him on his mission: he is looking for a rogue alchemist, O'Neill (Wheatley regular Michael Smiley), who stole some valuable documents from Whitehead's master. If only it were that easy.

It would be simple, though inaccurate, to categorize A Field in England as an exercise in style over substance. There is certainly style to it, and in spades; this is Wheatley's most distinctive feature yet, stylistically, and that's saying something for the guy who came up with the final fifteen minutes of Kill List. But Wheatley has a lot to say here (and not just about indiscriminate ingestion of hallucinogenic substances); his trademark sharp, finely-observed characters, and the friendships that develop between them, lend the movie a weight it would not otherwise have. Wheatley also comes up with some inventive ways to get around what were likely budget limitations; the obvious example here is the delivery of the dialogue in the climactic scene. (I'm not trying to be obtuse, I want to stay on the safe side of spoilery. When you see it, you'll know it.) The main criticism I have seen levelled at the film, that it raises more questions about its plot than it answers, is accurate. I do not see this as a weakness. Your mileage may vary.

As a side note, the trailers for the film have made a pretty big deal of the war aspect. As a service to those who lack an interest in war films, I will note that the battle is a framing aspect that serves to fix the time of the story, at no point do we actually see any of the battle, though guns firing can be heard, and musket-smoke is visible behind the hedgerow, for the first five to ten minutes of the film. Unlike, say, Pan's Labyrinth, which switched back and forth between the reality of the war and the fantasy world, Wheatley gives us a few minutes of character introduction, as it relates to the war, and then spends the rest of the movie in the titular field.

Ben Wheatley has gotten better with every film so far. This made me look forward all the more to his next project (as of this writing, he's in the middle of both the Ideals feature and an adaptation of J. G. Ballard's novel High Rise). But until one of those comes out, hunt this down and give it a look. *** 1/2
April 16, 2014
What in God's name is going on in this film? British soldiers wandering around a field beating each other up while tripping on magic mushrooms. Maybe If I took some shrooms I would have liked it more, but I'm NOT doing that again
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