Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Field in England

Synopsis: In a remote field in England during the civil war, a rag-tag group of men fleeing the carnage meet other refugees who may have, quite possibly, very murky intentions. What follows next is a journey into the realms of the weird and the really 'out-there' as they all try to make sense of the encroaching madness that threatens to eventually overwhelm them all...

"Ere mate, this is the weirdest thing I've seen a long while! Not sayin it's a bad thing, but.."

Oh, Hell YES! This film ROCKS! It is a masterclass in how to make a movie that has a iconic look and feel which then, categorically identifies itself as a work of art from a undeniably gifted director. In this case it's festival favorite Ben Wheatley, with his latest effort, the 4th such cinematic offering he has brought to fruition.

This bold and intoxicating film grabs you from the very first scene - and holds you firmly in its grasp until the credits start rolling. What a ride inbetween! Making the brave decision to film it in luminous black and white is, absolutely an artistic masterstroke. Colour would not have given the same organic feel as B/W. It would still be quite the experience, but a lesser one in my mind. Aside from that artistic choice, there are many other significant factors which contribute greatly to the success of this project, chief amongst them are the superb casting (All the gentlemen onscreen are equal to the task at hand, it's unfair to single any one person out), the strobing, psychedelic, feverish, frantic fantasy sequences; the staccato editing; the ominous creeping soundtrack; the imaginative storyline that was completely fresh, unique, and very compelling. All these elements blended together seamlessly, to keep you totally focused on the events unfolding before you. Much like the protagonists, desperately trying to make sense of it all!

The story you may ask? What's it all about then? People, people. Words are, quite simply, not going to be enough. All I can tell you is this. It's set during the English Civil War. It involves no more than 5 characters. They're all strangers. Some of the men get friendly, others are less inclined. Some might be looking for treasure. There's the prospect of a hearty refreshing ale at an alehouse. Some might get injured, possibly some will meet a more severe fate. They might ingest some hallucinogenic mushrooms. Then things really get very weird after that...

Gotta confess that I actually haven't seen the other three films that Wheatley has made yet (2009's "Down Terrace", 2011's "Kill List", 2012's "Sightseers") but having viewed this latest title to his name, I'll have to make amends. Sooner, rather than later I should add, this film being so damn good. I'm very curious now to immerse myself in all the films that I've mentioned above. It's kinda like when you arrive really late to an event, you miss out on so much at the beginning that you kick yourself for being tardy. Inevitably, it's always very beneficial to know how any story starts. Thus, you then have the 'complete picture' which, of course, gives you a deeper understanding of the whole thing. That's always a better place to make an informed judgement on matters such as these.

The biggest task any filmmaker has, when starting a new film, is to realise his vision properly. To execute it the way he has visualized it countless times before in his excited cranium. Once the project is completed to his exacting standard, it readies itself for an audience to discover and (most crucially), for them to fall in love with it is the desired wish. If a director has a strong self belief that he can manufacture something extraordinary, then the chances are he can produce a work of major significance. A work that will resonate with an audience, and will stand the biggest test of them all. The passage of time.

With "A Field in England", Ben Wheatley has created a fantastic movie which has the requisite 'X-Factor' in spades. This should (If it hasn't already) be enough to propel him to the forefront of leading edge filmmakers who have a unique voice via this wonderful medium we so cherish.

Long may he reign supreme!

Jamie's Rating?

J for... Jewel!

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