Starring: Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley, Julian Barrett, Peter Ferdinando, Ryan Pope.
Every once in a while a film comes along that totally takes you unaware by its ingenuity and originality, by its shear chutzpah of wanting to do its own thing without explanation or apology. A Field In England is one of those films.
Set during the English civil war, A Field In England concerns a group of men, primarily deserters, who happen upon an alchemist who is searching for a rumoured treasure buried somewhere in the vast field they find themselves in. Fuelled by wild mushrooms and greed the men begin to succumb to the fields strange hold over them. Might just be the shrooms though.
The English Civil War & psychedelia, not immediately obvious bedfellows but strangely enough work beautifully in this film, a sense of menace, surrealism and wicked humour punctuate its very heart and being a Ben Wheatley film, it isn’t a great surprise to also know that it works brilliantly. A funny, odd and wonderfully paced movie that highlights Wheatley’s considerable talents perfectly, still a doubter? The scene with Shearsmith, Smiley and the tent will change your mind, chilling, surreal, ethereal and to a ambient score that perfectly complements the scene, utterly mesmerising & goosebump inducing. Filmed in black & white for an incredibly meagre £300,000, this is how you make a small budget stretch, with style.
Utilising a great ensemble British cast in the likes of Shearsmith, Smiley & Barrett and the lesser known but equally brilliant Ferdinando & Pope, there is a real sense of grassroots collaboration on this film, the kind that serious actors yearn for and chomp at the bit to get which I suppose explains why the guys seem to have had an absolute ball making this film. That is just conjecture on my part but it really does come across that way from their performances.
If you have a love for original, leftfield, homegrown indie cinema, this film is definitely worth your time. It’s beautiful, mindbending and quite possibly unlike anything you have seen before.