Alright. That’s it. I give up. Look in my hand, what am I holding? That’s right, a white flag. I surrender. After three attempts I will finally conclude that I am just not on the same wavelength as director Ben Wheatley, no matter how hard I try. While the whole world went ga-ga for his “Kill List”, I just did not see what all the fuss was about. While the world enjoyed “Sightseers”, I found it to be a bore. I suspected that Ben Wheatley and I were never destined to be cinematic soul mates, but I thought I would give him one last chance, so I went to see his latest film “A Field In England”………and I HATED IT!!!!!
For the entirety of the film I had absolutely no idea what was going on. There was a field (probably the field of the title), four guys wondering through this field for what seemed like forever, until suddenly they decided to pull on a giant rope for some reason. Than another man appeared (from nowhere) and demanded that the others find some treasure for him that was buried somewhere in this field. Also every now and then, the group would stop to eat some mushrooms or attempt to defecate. Look I am sure Ben Wheatley is possibly a very talented filmmaker and quite intelligent too (this is the “it’s not you, it’s me” part of the review), but the entire point of this film was lost on me entirely and thus I found it extremely tedious and a massive chore to sit through.
For those of you that may be interested in “A Field In England”, here is a serious synopsis that I have stolen from the MIFF guide: “In 17th century England, a group of deserters flee a raging battle through the English countryside. They are soon caught by a man who insists they help him uncover a treasure buried in the middle of a field. As they feast on wild mushrooms, the group descends into paranoia and arguments, and they discover that the treasure may be more than mere gold”. Um…..okay, sure…..guess my version wasn’t too far off really.
I do not think that I can accurately get across just how much I despised this film, and what made it worse was the fact that my screening of “A Field In England” was an 11:30pm screening, making the waste of time even more pronounced. The only positive I have for the film was that there were a couple of funny lines in it, but that is it. The digital black and white photography also looked so cheap, that I hated it. Long gone is that gorgeous black and white look you got from films shot on celluloid (may it rest in peace) like “Raging Bull” with its deep blacks and stunning contrast. Today films are shot in colour and then drained of that colour digitally in post, to create a black and white look but it will never be the same. Here the images were a murky, smeary mess with a limited grey scale and again, I despised it.
While I understand that this is not the most mature or professional review I have ever written, “A Field In England” is a film that I disliked so much that I would rather not waste another minute discussing it. It was a complete waste of time and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Sadly I saw this film with both my wife and brother and the opinion was unanimous: IT SUCKED!!! (and my brother is a massive fan of “Sightseers”). Hopefully this is the worst film I see at this year’s MIFF as I do not want to go through a screening like this again. Avoid at all costs.