DVD A Field in England

DVD A Field in England
DVD A Field in England
Run time: 90 min
Rating: 6.2
Genres: Drama | Horror | Thriller
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Amy Jump
Stars: Julian Barratt, Peter Ferdinando, Richard Glover
Fleeing for their lives, a small party abandon their Civil War confederates and escape through an overgrown field. Thinking only of what lay behind, they are ambushed by two dangerous men and made to search the field. Psychedelia, madness and chaotic forces slowly overtake the group as they question what treasure lies within the malignant field. Written by jessgiostan
Plot Keywords: diseased penis, leg shattered by musket shot, loading musket with ramrod, campsite demolished by wind, mushroom induced euphoria
Country: UK
Release Date: 5 July 2013 (UK)
Box Office
Opening Weekend: $9,498 (USA) (7 February 2014)
Gross: $30,716 (USA) (14 March 2014)


  1. I've seen and enjoyed the last few films from Wheatley – not to the point that I love him but certainly to the point that I know he will bring me something interesting as a total package. He seems to do "brooding tone" very well while also engaging with plots, dark humor and generally well shot films. This one starts on the same way, moving characters into place and setting up some weird supernatural scenario which appears to be building and building. I was engaged by this but once we reach a certain point, it appears that this changes and it becomes almost nothing about a narrative flow and entirely about the visual and stylistic chaos of the final third.

    Plot wise the film delivers nothing in this part. Characters who were dead show up, violent deaths occur, massive visions and tripping out. Those that defend the film say that you just need to go with this and that perhaps those that don't just don't like this sort of experience; I would point to 2001, it delivers content like this but does so in a way that makes sense and fits with the plot. In this case it is hard not to see it as being done for the sake of it and this is partly because the film is generally very aesthetically pleasing. The staged shots look great, the weird ideas are presented in a way that works (the two main "on a rope" scenes), the music produces a great sense of dread and generally it is a very well shot film. So when it offers nothing in the narrative sense, it is hard not to think that perhaps it has been focusing on the style all along and that any sense of a plot was merely just to get it where it needed to be so it could unleash stylistically.

    Don't get me wrong, I liked it from this point of view but even having some structure or some basic narrative flow would have made it a good film, not just one that feels like the director was playing with how it looks and sounds. The cast deliver what is asked of them very well and their involvement is total, there are no bad performances here and I really liked the "small cast, small space" idea. Problem is that none of them have characters, just moments. They are great in this scene and in the next, but nothing bridges them. Indeed this is true of the whole film. Read the positive reviews here – they talk about how awesome a certain scene was or how great a certain visual trick was, but they really are not so clear about what was good about the film as a whole. Truth is I agree – there are lots of good individual moments, because the snippets are all cool to look at and very well delivered, but this isn't a music video, a fashion shoot or a 20 second commercial, it is a feature film that proposes to have a plot – but only proposes it.

    For what it does well the film should be commended, but to ride on aesthetics alone for 90 minutes is a big ask and it is beyond this film. The ideas and structures probably cover it for fir the first half, but after this it really goes all out for the looks and style and, once you've had this and only this for 10 minutes then it starts getting boring without substance – and unfortunately once you hit that wall, there is probably still 20-30 minutes left to go, meaning it gets tiresome and a bit annoying. Worth a look for what it does well, but even on this level it has its limits – if this film is what he wanted to do then it would have worked much, much better as a 45 minute short.

  2. This movie is about ninety minutes of purgatory, I think.

    Four men from the time period of Oliver Cromwell, I think, during a battle, I think, escape the perceived carnage by falling through a rural hedge. They form a four-man band and in a weary, bedraggled condition, trudge a field with ale on their mind. What follows then is plain and simple, puzzlement.

    After spending an hour figuring out what I had just viewed I've plumped for, what you reap in life is what you sow in the afterlife.

    I also watched the director's vague explanation of what the film is about and I am none the wiser. I think my assessment will at least give a future viewer something to mull over.


  3. OK, it's been 9 hours since I watched this movie so it may be too soon to score as is usually the case with Wheatley's movies.

    This is a trip, and not a nice trip, Michael Smiley and Reece Shearsmith are exceptional in parts, the photography is simply stunning but the whole film was a let down for me. The critics will love it, but I feel this is the movie some directors make as if to say "I'm hot, I'll do what I like'.

    It's pretentious and very self indulgent, but i must say THAT TENT SCENE…WOW, the use of soundtrack (Blanck Mass, Chernobyl, Shearsmith's screams, the slow motion, 4 minutes of cinema which blew me away, unfortunately the other 80 odd minutes didn't

  4. This came with a fair bit of hype being directed by Ben Wheatley who made KILL LIST that gained a cult following and due to being released on multiple platforms ie released at selected cinemas , Blue-ray , DVD and broadcast on Film4 all on the same day . With hindsight the people who didn't pay to watch this film are luckier than the ones who did and anyone who hasn't seen this pretentious pile of horse manure is luckier than anyone who has

    Critics who saw preview copies of FIELD were very vague about the plot . That is because the film has no plot . Some deserters from the English Civil War team up , walk through some fields , take magic mushrooms and shoot each other . Anyone expecting something along the lines of WITCHFINDER GENERAL will be disappointed because this is like a bad episode of Monty Python without the surreal jokes crossed with Tarkovsky

    It's a case of style over substance , not so much substance abuse but plenty of style abuse . Wheatley realises there's no story to the screenplay so wastes his celluloid and the audiences time by showing off every directorial technique he learned at film school . If he's trying to emulate the brooding atmosphere of Nicolas Winding Refn's VALHALLA RISING then he's failed because this is Valhalla sinking . Sinking in to a big cesspit filled with pretentious poo

    The critics who did see it before the general public did lavish praise upon it and is a classic example that the emperor is naked . It is a film of incomprehensible storytelling that has no plot and makes very little sense . If it was made by a bunch of film students it wouldn't receive a distributor and the only reason it received any type of publicity is because it was directed by the fashionable and overrated Ben Wheatley and the multi platform release . I bet those people who spent money on the DVD are feeling embarrassed about it now

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