A FIELD IN ENGLAND
(directed by Josh Wheatley, 2003)
****+ (out of 5)
> There is a civil war erupting in 17th century England.
. It is a brutal scene of chaos and death. We meet a group of men on the fringes of the battle, deserters madly scrambling for their lives across an overgrown field. Once out of harm’s way, they form an alliance and go in search of the succor of a rumored alehouse, but things go awry when they are captured en route by a powerful and mysterious alchemist who has a task for them. The motley crew becomes conscripted labor, set immediately to work digging for a treasure the shaman is convinced is buried somewhere in that field.
. This experimental-narrative from Ben Wheatley just knocked my sox off! I will immediately check out his two previous efforts (SIGHTSEERS and KILL LIST) to see if this bizarre stunner is the rule or the exception. The last time I remember being so bowled-over by the startling originality of a film must have been BRAND UPON THE BRAIN, my introduction to unique Canadian artist Guy Maddin. (See my similarly experimental review at:)
. Yes, there are strange forces at work in the fairy circle, ringed by hallucinogenic mushrooms whose ingestion turns the whole cinematic expedition into an indescribable psychedelic lunacy that goes so far as to enter the realm of experimental film when reality seems to break down into an extended vacation from normalcy. The crazier this flick got, the more I squealed with delight. A FIELD IN ENGLAND is certainly not for everyone, but as with BRAND UPON THE BRAIN, its rewards (for the initiated) are delights to be treasured.
> Talk about original! Whoo-ee!
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