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Dear Mr Wheatley,

I have been very patient with you. I appreciated the roller coaster ride you decided to send us on with your script of “Kill List”, meandering between social drama, pro killer portrait and secret witchcraft society crazy stuff. I actually even more enjoyed the “Sightseers”, a calmer, maybe more mature approach to highlighting the urges and motivations of the certainly no less deranged characters populating this variation on the popular road movie format. I was and still am really astonished to see what kind of film making is possible outside of commercial pressure, with whatever is stowed away in your brain’s creative filters being the only authority on what a film should look like and where it should take us, the devoted audience.

Now “A Field in England”…  Firstly, may I commend you for having mastered the skill of time bending. These 87 or so minutes have been among the longest in my life! I actually had to take a break halfway through, requiring a full month to recover from what I had just seen, quite sure I wanted to continue, not so sure when I would want to do this. This may have to do with nothing happening in the film, and not just twice. There is a field, there is (I suppose) England, and there are some dirty people walking over and digging into that field. I would not have been surprised had you chosen the title “Several Dirty People on and in a field in England”, it would have been more accurate and also reminiscent of that great Pink Floyd “song” about animals in a cage, grooving with a pict. The dirty people are at war, some on this side, some on the other, but they meet on the field and stay there because one of them carries the notion of a treasure lying buried beneath the field (he also carries a gun), and compels them to start looking for it (hence the digging. Not the “dirty” though, they were quite dirty to begin with. War’s a dirty business, they certainly communicate).

And then … poems recited, ghosts conjured, God cursed, limbs shot, friends murdered, venereal diseases discovered (“I will not turn into a green frog then?” – “This, Sir, may be the only calamity you are not suffering. That, and the plague”), stroboscopic visions flashed, beautiful music superimposed, necks roped. And some other stuff. It’s quite beautiful, actually, even though I do not have the slightest bit of explanation for anything that’s going on. Are you trying to tell me anything, Mr Wheatley? If so, please send me the explanation, I enclose a stamped return envelope. No need to explain sentences like this one: “I shall pray for more legs and arms to greater appreciate the many natural intrigues and wonders that play out below us”. I loved it for what it was in its medieval beauty. And give my regards to Mr Jim Williams, who is credited with the sometimes hypnotic, mostly eerie and and always enchanting score.

Admittedly, “A Field in England” was exhausting to watch, almost an effort in endurance. I think after I accepted to experience it with the guts rather than with the brain, I started thoroughly enjoying it. Love may follow.

Thanks a lot Mr Wheatley, I look forward to your next feature. Don’t sell out!

Best regards

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/a_field_in_england/

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4 Comments

  1. “I was and still am really astonished to see what kind of film making is possible outside of commercial pressure, with whatever is stowed away in your brain’s creative filters being the only authority on what a film should look like and where it should take us, the devoted audience.” Brilliantly stated, my friend. I agree.

  2. thanks a lot, and as ever for stopping by!

  3. A Field in England (2013) had its moments and was quite unpredictable. The scene when the guy goes deaf, when he screams and emerges from the tent, and when he becomes swallowed up by the field, were stand-outs for me. I guess it is an impressive technical achievement considering the budget.

    But overall, it was just too slow for my taste- and I didn’t care if the characters lived or died.I actually found it difficult to decipher one actor from another, as several of them had similar appearance. It was indeed a bit tricky to follow what was going on, so I too decided to experience it with the guts rather than with the brain. Good review, Thomas.

  4. and I thought I am the only one watching those weird films… it’s true, it is painfully slow at times, but then again, it adds to the hypnotic quality, at least as soon as you do away with the expectation of a plot that is supposed to develop. Thanks for the comment!


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