After finally getting my hands on Ben Wheatley’s psychedelic creation A Field In England I’m left with one thought in my mind, don’t ever go looking for treasure! To add to that never do anything worthwhile during the course of a mushroom trip, even though you may not know you are on one. That is the sort of feeling that you get once encountering this quirky little film. While I did expect a tad more strangeness Wheatley achieves the ultimate goal in illegal substance movies. Instead of just making you feel as if you are with the vagabonds but that you also consumed the fungus as well. While A Field In England may not go well with the hardcore gore heads fans of all genres can find something to appreciate in this strange theatrical journey.
Seriously let’s be honest the film is strange. From it’s black and white offering to the characters that inhabit the mushroom field. I was expecting certain moments of color especially during peak segments for each character but felt the visualization still worked even though they stayed with the original look. You would expect tons of crazy effects to “enhance” your spirit during the film but that’s not necessarily true. Even with the preemptive warning at the beginning of Field most of the insanity is based off camera angles and settle genius movements that will have you reaching for the remote as you will think something is wrong with your system. That’s one of the things I appreciate the most about A Field In England is that it is a psychedelic movie without even trying to be.
You will fall in love with the characters in A FIeld In England as they all eventually succumb to their own fears and paranoia which is what brings the horror elements to this film. Once the alchemist O’neill explains what he intends to find in the field deceit, betrayal, and murder start to populate the latter stages of the movie. Strangely enough there is still a comedic undertone that carries throughout as most of the characters are fried out of their minds trying to process all the bewilderment and torment around them. The celtic sounding soundtrack plays well during the film as it adds to the silliness found by certain actors. The standouts for sure are Michael Smiley and Reece Shearsmith but the rest of the cast has their moments as well.
A Field In England I feel will engage most viewers in the first thirty minutes or not at all. I hate calling this a hit or miss film but in this world it’s hard not to. This is a very smart and over the top type of experience that some may find boring and ridiculous. I’m not saying that if you have partaken in this type of experiment you will enjoy the film more. The same goes for those who have not. No matter what your experience level is you will either take the film for what It is or feel like it was a complete waste of time. I do believe A Field In England is worth your time because the effort by everyone involved was tremendous. Critics everywhere are raving about this film but I’m not so sure the mainstream audience will feel the same way. Whatever the case I can understand why it was on many must see lists of 2013 and should be expecting the same this year for sure.
A Field In England is available February 7th today on VOD. It is directed by Ben Wheatley and stars Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith, Julian Barratt, Peter Ferdinando,and Richard Glover. It is being distributed by Drafthouse Films. To find out how you can watch A Field In England visit the official website here: http://drafthousefilms.com/film/a-field-in-england