BEN WHEATLEY’S A FIELD IN ENGLAND — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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I’ve become quietly obsessed with Ben Wheatley’s fucked up, totally tripped-out piece of cinematic psychedelia A Field in England over the last year or so. Sightseers and Kill List are also both excellent genre subversions made with extreme skill and devilish wit, but this one stands alone and completely on its head as a wild piece of wholly original filmmaking that pushes the limits of personal, expressionistic storytelling to new, unhinged heights. A Field in England is pure madness, a descent into a strange and sometimes terrifying world of alternating perspectives, nightmarish dream-logic, and hallucinatory imagery that feels even more aggressively stylish because of the shimmery black and white cinematography. I won’t bother trying to explain the “plot” of this film – just watch the trailer. You’ll know within about eight seconds whether this is up your alley. For me, like other works such as Enter the Void and Under the Skin and Enemy, this is one of those films that begs for constant revisits, as no individual viewing will likely be the same as the next. There’s too much to explore, both thematically and aesthetically, for this to be a one-off experience. If you can take it. Again…my thinking is that for every person who loves this film, there will be 10 who hate it, or just can’t get into the groove that Wheatley hits in this perverse, sometimes upsetting, and always ferocious tale of men driven to the brink of insanity. Makes sense that the film would Drafthouse release; it’s also a work fully endorsed by Martin Scorsese. Wheatley’s next film, High Rise, sounds like more insane, extremely dark work from this challenging and provocative filmmaker.

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