I bought my partner, C, Ben Wheatley‘s black and white seventeenth century psychedelic movie A Field in England for Christmas. We only recently got the chance to watch it as we have had house guests from before the holidays right through until last week; none of whom would have appreciated the film. Hence holding off watching it for nearly a month.
We’ve both wanted to see it since its release last July but, for a whole host of reasons, have been unable to. Needless to say we were both rather excited to finally get the chance. I have to say it was most definitely worth the wait.
If you haven’t seen it yet here’s the trailer.
You can see why I describe it as a psychedelic film then?
The film follows three men in the midst of the English Civil War, two deserting soldiers and a scholar/magician, led into misadventure by a third soldier under the promise of leading them to an ale house. I don’t want to say more than that about the plot to be honest. What I do want to highlight is the atmosphere of the film. Despite being filmed entirely out of doors in a picturesque English field the film still manages to feel extremely claustrophobic. There is a brooding menace to the film that consistently builds as events spiral ever more into a strange and macabre world devoid of reason. There is a scene in which one of the characters is attached to a rope, won’t tell you any more than that, which is sincerely one of the most unsettling scenes I’ve ever seen in a film. Not because of the subject matter, the scene itself could just as easily have been comedic, but because of the disjointed feel of the scene. A mix of slow motion, frenetic energy, extreme close ups mixed with absolutely brilliantly emotive physical performances from the players is… well… it’s unsettling! To say the least.
If you haven’t seen this film rush out and do so at your first opportunity. The budget for this film was a mere £300,000. A figure that both shames many a director of big budget releases and is testament to Wheatley’s brilliance as a director that such a low budget film should be such a masterpiece of horror cinema.