Monday, 28 December 2015

I've Just Seen: A Field in England (2013)

A Field in England (2013)

Director: Ben Wheatley

This film is an acquired taste. It follows a group of men who have moved away from an English Civil War battle, and are searching for a treasure buried in a nearby field. Hallucinogenic mushrooms are consumed by several in the group, and the plot and its characters descend into a strange and disturbing place where reality and fantasy become one.

The black and white cinematography helps to situate this in the 17th century, and Amy Jump's script mixes crass modern sweary dialogue with phrasing worthy of Shakespeare. The film adds to the unsettling mood with frequent tableau scenes which point to the events of the next scene. The editing reminded me of Vertov's Man With a Movie Camera, using slow-motion, mirroring, cuts between characters to draw the audience into this hallucinogenic state that the characters are in.

Did I enjoy this? Perhaps it was too strange for my tastes. It is certainly an admirable film for its rather old-fashioned use of black-and-white and editing techniques (rather than special effects). The set-up should have been stronger so that the descent into madness was more shocking. You will certainly be disturbed by what you see, even if you don't quite understand it all.

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