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A Field in England (Review)

Black & White Thespian Romp --

Ben Wheatley is a director who has proven himself an above average, visionary filmmaker, who can achieve great things using a minimalistic approach. I've seen his last three films and also the forth whereby he is but one of 26 directors, creating a short horror tale which is alphabetically inspired (U in this case) to hilariously gross effect. I particularly enjoyed the Steve Oram, Alice Lowe penned Sightseers which Ben handled well, applying a humorously skewed look at outdoor life and murder, to great effect. It was one of my favourite low budget films of that genre from 2012.

Admittedly, this black and white ye olde horror was the last thing I expected from this talented director, but who am I to complain as it is an effective, if humble piece. The Kill List writing partnership of Amy Jump and Mr Wheatley have again demonstrated their obvious partnered talent as the dialogue is interesting and flows rather nicely.

There is a strong sense of experimentation in the overall styling of this movie, but this has always been something I enjoy with talented filmmakers, as they seek out a certain look or feeling on their quest of discovery. These attempts can vary from showy, to downright pretentious, but the director strikes a fine balance to achieve a nice looking film, that while is far from perfect, it is something we can all enjoy.

A group of fighting men make a bid to escape battle in the Civil War. They come across a large overgrown field and decide to cross, but as they do so they meet two very dangerous men, one of whom is an alchemist, O’Neil (Michael Smiley) who insist they search the field in hope of finding hidden treasure. They partake in magic mushrooms and hallucinations ensue, but the madness overtakes the group with some horrifying results. It would appear that this is no ordinary field which they walk in, as they have extremely vivid images in their heads.

The acting is particularly good by all cast members, as they are very convincing in their roles, even if a little over the top at times. The cinematography was also good as it was kept interesting, especially during the hallucinatory scenes in which the talented Laurie Rose worked his magic. This surrealistic inexpensive film may at first seem peculiar, but it turns into a rather rewarding little film that may not appeal to the wider audience, however will find favour with indie fans and anyone interested in Ben Wheatley's other work. A most engaging little flick.

Grade: C+

Ed Blackadder

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