By: Liam Hoofe (A Toast) –
Ben Wheatley is going on a psychedelic trip through the English Civil War and we’re all welcome to join him on his journey.
Wheatley’s latest movie, A Field in England, is perhaps one of the most mind-bending and challenging movies you will encounter this year. Undeniably ambitious with a taste for the absurd, the movie is the story of three men in the war attempting to find an Ale House when they are taking hostage by an Irishman and introduced to his sadistic master O’Neil. After forcing the captives to eat hallucinogenic drugs, we witness their mental state deteriorating as they enter a psychotic odyssey into madness.
Schizophrenic editing from Wheatley and Amy Jump sees nightmarish images of blood dripping down grass, characters, maddening faces, and terrifying imagery all intermingled to such a degree that it is not only scary but at times even maddening. The fact that the film was shot exclusively in black and white only adds to the nightmare. Wheatley’s cult reputation continues to grow following Sightseers and Kill List and this film further cements him as one of the most intriguing directors around today.
The narrative, for the most part will leave you scratching your head and repeat viewings are certainly a necessity. One scene in particular will engrave itself into your mind’s eye and have you waking up in a cold sweat on more than one occasion. The scenes are all intercut with various frightening shots whilst the film uses the melodies of children’s nursery rhymes to further the film’s eerie tone.
A pure beauty to behold, this is experimental cinema at its very best. Wheatley continues to earn his plaudits for his unorthodox approach to film-making and rightfully so. Whilst complete sobriety is recommended for viewing this movie it will no doubt leave you craving a stiff drink after the credits have rolled.
Take a Drink: every time the Ale House in mentioned
Take a Long Drink: during every ‘trippy’ sequence
Do a Shot: every time you have a chill run down your spine