A Field In England

by Patrick O'Connor

 

THIS latest offering by director Ben Wheatley, who had a cult hit last year with the bizarre black comedy Sightseers, seems to have split viewers and critics right down the middle.

Wheatley is renowned for coming up with projects which hop between genres. Prior to Sightseers, in which a caravanning couple go on a murder spree, Wheatley had impressed with two low-budget efforts Kill List and Down Terrace which defied categorisation.

Kill List featured a pair of hitmen drawn in an occult nightmare, Down Terrace had a run-of-the-mill Brighton-based family turning out to be a murderous dysfunctional bunch of weirdos.

A Field in England also set out to baffle. The opening scenes placed us in the 17th century English Civil War and four men end up a field and decide to flee from the battle.

The plot apparently revolves around hunting for an unspecified treasure but it all descends into a hallucinogenic, hotchpotch of nonsense.

Quite frankly I hadn't got a clue what was going on apart from the fact that the four men all hated each other's guts and there was plenty of mushroom munching going on.

Visually the film is stunning, portrayed in black and white with an eerie, atmospheric feel to it.

Critics called it a load of tosh, others acclaimed its avant-garde approach as brave and experimental.

This really is one where you are going to have to make your mind up.