A Field in England

IMDb Rating 6.3 10 9


Downloaded 3,434 times
May 18, 2019



Peter Ferdinando as Major Molesworth
767.08 MB
23.976 fps
90 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Dan1863Sickles 8 / 10 / 10

It's Really An Allegory Of The English Civil War Itself

A FIELD IN ENGLAND is an incredibly brilliant and haunting film. While it may look like a psychedelic horror movie, like WITCH FINDER GENERAL, in reality it is a very straightforward film based very directly on the English Civil War itself. O'Neill, the Irish alchemist who tries to enslave Whitehead and his friends, is clearly based on the English monarch Charles I. Like Charles, O'Neill is an arrogant man who claims not only total earthly power, but the right to pass judgment on men and to interfere with the cosmos itself. Just as Charles I saw himself as chosen by God (not the people) to rule as an absolute monarch, so O'Neill sees himself as a god on earth. Whitehead, the timid religious scholar who attempts to bring O'Neill to justice, represents the Puritan conscience of England. His evolution in the film from a meek, submissive cowardly man to a military hero parallels the way the Puritans themselves evolved from a hunted, despised minority to a powerful army of spiritual and political authority, able to recreate England in their own image. What the movie does is not just to imitate history but to reflect on its deeper meaning. Notice how the earthy, ignorant common soldiers switch their allegiance in the course of the nightmarish conflict in the field. At first they feel great contempt for Whitehead, the Puritan. They ridicule his "soft hands" and laugh when he is degraded and tortured and forced to run on a leash like a dog. In the same way, the English of Shakespeare's time (like Shakespeare himself) tended to regard the Puritans as a joke. But over time, as O'Neill proves more and more arrogant and unstable, the soldiers (like the English common people) begin to respond to Whitehead's efforts to awaken their sense of justice and their own moral dignity. By the end of the film, even the lowliest and most ignorant of the soldiers is willing to sacrifice his own life in Whitehead's cause, and Whitehead himself has changed from a pitiful outsider to the leader of the tiny band of "rebels." The fall of O'Neil parallels the fall of Charles I, just as the rise of Whitehead mirrors the success of the Puritan revolution.

Reviewed by Red-Barracuda 4 / 10 / 10

Strange film with a unique distribution strategy

A Field in England is most notable for being the first British film to be simultaneously released across every format on the same night. It has been released theatrically, pay-per-view, on DVD and on free television. It's a pretty audacious move and one that I hope works out for the film-makers as it could be a new way for left-field films to get the go-ahead to get made at all. It also reminded me of what it used to be like in the days before video recorders when I was a little kid. Whenever a movie came on TV it was a cultural event as a large percentage of the population sat down to watch it at the same time – we couldn't record it to watch it later or pause it to go and make a cup of tea we simply had to make time for it at the given moment and watch. I obviously wouldn't swap the flexibility we have nowadays but there was something to be said for sharing a movie at the same time as millions of others. And in a sense, the simultaneous cinema and TV release of A Field in England brings back this scenario and for that I am quite thankful. The film itself? Well, it's a quite difficult one to accurately judge on a single viewing, as it was pretty confusing on the whole. Director Ben Wheatley said that he wanted to transport the viewer into the world of Civil War England with little exposition to explain what was going on. He wanted us to enter a world where the characters do things that would be second nature to them without actually explaining to us why they were doing them. It's a reasonable enough idea as events in the film appear somewhat surreal as a result. Having said that, I think it's obvious that the story is bizarre regardless of this. It involves an alchemist's assistant and some soldiers fleeing a battle and meeting an ominous cavalier in a field. The latter is looking for some unspecified treasure and he uses these men to find it. Throw in some magic mushrooms to complicate matters and you have one very weird movie. I'm not 100% certain what to make of it on one viewing. It frustrated me a bit I have to admit, as it didn't necessarily make the most of the sinister possibilities inherent in its storyline. And by the end I really wasn't all that sure what had just happened. But it did intrigue me a little and I would be interested in returning to it at some later point. The cinematography was very good at times, while the soundtrack had an interesting mix of medieval drums, folk and ambient electronica. Acting was good enough with Reece Shearsmith of The League of Gentlemen always a welcome presence, while Michael Smiley was good as the cavalier. I'm not entirely convinced by A Field in England at the minute but I feel like unique films of this type should at least be encouraged in the UK so for that reason I am going to cut it some slack.

Reviewed by neil-476 4 / 10 / 10

Beautifully photographed tosh

Some blokes who don't want to get killed during the English Civil War manage to escape from the fighting into a neighbouring field ("a field in England", geddit?) where, annoyingly, they fail to leg it as fast as they can away from the fighting: instead they spend an hour and a half faffing around in the company of an unstable fellow from the other side of the battle. Or from some other side than theirs. Now it's entirely possible that this has some deeper significance than is immediately apparent: perhaps it is some sort of comment on the human condition, or on England's schizophrenic attitude towards its own history or the like. Or perhaps I am indeed too stupid to divine the director's true intentions, or to take pride in my own role as determinant of the true meaning of the film. But I think it's just possible that there is less to this than meets the eye, and that the small (and very good) cast have wasted 90 minutes of their and my time on a beautifully photographed but utterly pointless piece of monochrome inconsequentiality.

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