A Field in England
Directed by: Ben Wheatley
No other film has surprised me more this year than A Field in England. These days, it's a rare thing indeed to be surprised anymore. Especially when it comes to something you've never heard about or when you go in with no expectations at all. As I sat down to watch this film, I knew absolutely nothing about it. Nothing, other than the fact that Drafthouse Films picked it up for distribution and even created a gorgeous poster print courtesy of artist Jay Shaw, who's quickly become one of my favorite poster designers of the last 25 years. But I was told on more than one occasion that should the opportunity present itself, I need to see it. Thanks to Amazon Instant Video, I was able to do just that.
A Field in England was like nothing I was expecting it to be. But to be honest, I didn't know what to expect....period, so I guess that's not really a fair assumption. Either way, I didn't know what to expect and it literally blew me away. A tour de force of inventive minimalist filmmaking at it's best and incredibly hard to categorize. At times dark, brooding, trippy, dramatic, and often times funny, yet from it's beginning, stunning on almost every level with some truly original creative choices. I'll further my point a little bit. As it began, it literally just throws you into a scene and you're wondering what the hell is going on. And nothing about this beginning sequence looked or felt inspired, or makes any kind of sense, which had me somewhat worried. I felt lost for a good 15 minutes. And that's what you should expect too. It doesn't take any pains in trying to explain anything to you right up front. Rather, you have to invest yourself fully; to throw any sense of normalcy or ordinary narrative out the window and just go along for the ride. Not always an easy thing to do, I know. But once you do, and which you will have to do with A Field in England, you'll be handsomely rewarded with a truly unique film experience.
The film takes place entirely in , wait for it.......a field in England, and consists of just a cast of 5, which is rather impressive when it's all said and done. Not once does this film feel or look small in scale. It isn't until it's all over and you're replaying the entire thing in your head, which you will be doing by the way, that you realize "wow, that whole film took place in a field and there were only a handful of actors?". Writer/director Ben Wheatley, along with frequent collaborator partner Amy Jump, has created a visual and psychological experience unlike anything I've seen.
Not a film for everyone, but for lovers of film and cinema, especially those for a taste for something wholly original, different and inventive, it's most definitely one to be experienced.
Described by Drafthouse Films as "A psychedelic trip into magic and madness" and "A most original and stunning cinematic experience" by director Martin Scorsese, A Field in England begs to be seen.