A Field in England Reviews
Half of the film feels like pointless waste of material when all the creativity and wittiness are expressed towards the end of the film, almost as if director Ben Wheatley got two completely contrary inspirations for the tones of each half, making A Field In England an artistically rewarding film after a long wait of nothingness that goes unmatched to the tension of Kill List or to the black comedy of Sightseers and that probably wouldve worked more as a book as all the cinematic possibilities are wasted when theres nothing more to the tale than the tales of the poorly presented characters.
Note: Probably makes more sense after a second viewing (Have not tried it yet)
This film starts out looking like a good historical period piece, but quickly becomes a constipated mire of pretentious poo that makes little sense; Continuity is second to...everything else, I guess.
They made it look very nice for the period, but the storyline was muddled, convoluted, and in the end, completely worthless.
While the action is set in the 17th century, the film discards most of the boring conventions surrounding that period(I wish Ben Wheatley would have done the same with "Kill List") and sets its sight on a revigorating approach. Indeed, it sacrifices linear storytelling in the way, but this is something I do not care all that much about.
"A field in England" is also stripped by the conventional "epicness" one would expect from a film set during the English Civil War, choosing an approach similar to films such as Werner Herzog's "Agguire, die Zorn Gottes", for example. It doesn't focus on that war, as a whole, but on a group of deserters. While some may not approve of this, I believe this gives the film a sense of authenticity.
But whereas Aguirre is fairly conventional, in terms of storytelling, this one is not(as I have mentioned before). In narrative terms, it owes more to directors such as Woyzech Has(is it just me, or there really are moments in which the film feels strangely Polish) or Jodorowsky(although, sadly, the film does not match Jodorowsky's mastery in creating strong symbols).
On the downside of things, "A field in England" still suffers a bit from one of "Kill List"'s flaws: it tried too much. This time, it tries to many tjhings at once. No, not narratively, but stylistically. The film, with its blend of old and new, still dictates a particular approach: one surrounding directors such as Has, Zulawski, Jodorowsky or Herzog and as long as it keeps going in this direction, things are ok. But when the film turns to current trends, such as flash cuts, it bec omes a tad disappointing, because the simply don't feel like they belong there. Indeed, it cements the film psychedelic moods, but I feel they were uncalled for.
However, overall, "A field in England" bold and pleasantly surprising film and while it might have failed to enjoy the same acclaim as "Kill List", it establishes that Ben Whatley is not a minor director, but one worth keeping an eye on.
I'm giving this 4 out of 5.