It’s here. At last, today is the launch of A Field In England – the fourth film by Ben Wheatley and his team.
The film stars an ensemble cast in a tale of desertion, witchcraft and magic mushrooms. Amongst that cast are TVO regulars Julian Barratt and Richard Glover, and we’re itching to see your reaction to the finished film.
It’s a bold step for Wheatley, who has seen his stock rise dramatically following the critically acclaimed releases of Down Terrace and Kill List, and the runaway success of Sightseers
The results are gloriously challenging. This is not your average movie, nor is it what you would expect the hottest property in Britain to do next. Watching AFIE again earlier this week, TVO wasn’t sure wether to be dismissive of the way the rules of film-making are thrown out the window, or fall in love with Ben all the more for doing exactly that.
There’s no doubt about it, this film will challenge the mainstream audience it is seemingly building, with its multi-platform release today. It is highly likely there may even be a bit of a Twitter backlash from confused punters tuning in to see it on telly, and wondering what on earth is happening.
But, for want of a better term, “f*** em”. This is an incredibly powerful piece of work which is stunningly shot, utilising all manner of home-made lenses, kaleidoscopic visuals and possibly the creepiest slow-motion shot in history. There are laughs aplenty, which is surprising given the surrealist tableaux on offer, and whilst the odd fusion of contemporary-sounding dialogue and a dose of ‘hey nonny nonny’ speech jars at first, everything soon falls into place. It’s also well acted by all six stars, with Reece Shearsmith giving a tour-de-force central performance, and kudos must also go to Michael Smiley‘s ability to play a man with the blackest heart in cinema’s recent history. And if you don’t fall in love with Richard Glover after this, shame on you.
AFIE is definitely not for everyone. Those who stick with it, will probably want to watch it again just to really let it sink in. And those who return, may just find something everyone else missed.