Ben Wheatley's film is a reckless combination of period piece, war drama, broad comedy, psychedelic fever dream, and occult horror-scape.
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It's sweaty, disorienting, thrilling. Rarely has a narrative feature so marvelously integrated a sequence of experimental filmmaking, and that sequence alone guarantees A Field in England should thrive on the midnight circuit.
The film is the most formally experimental, and probably the least approachable, of the director's titles to date. But it's further proof of Wheatley's singular sensibilities as a filmmaker.
Very physical, with intense performances and half-serious period talk, it’s an impressive, haunting picture — though the sort of thing you have to meet at least halfway to enjoy.
Wheatley's new film is grisly and visceral, an occult, monochrome-psychedelic breakdown taking place somewhere in the West Country during the civil war.
Clearly, Wheatley is bored with the paint-by-numbers approach of his horror contemporaries, but has swung so far in the opposite direction here, the result feels almost amateurishly avant garde at times, guilty of the sort of indulgences one barely tolerates in student films.
Wheatley’s extraordinary film shakes you back and forth with a rare ferocity, but the net result is stillness.
A Field in England is a rich, strange, hauntingly intense work from a highly original writer-director team.
This is a film built on sensation, misdirection and randomness. The result can be maddeningly obtuse, but it’s also breathtakingly lovely and genuinely unsettling.