Reviewed by fbcaird
on 11/02/2016 13:05

A Field in England is most notable for being the first British film tornbe simultaneously released across every format on the same night. Itrnhas been released theatrically, pay-per-view, on DVD and on freerntelevision. It's a pretty audacious move and one that I hope works outrnfor the film-makers as it could be a new way for left-field films tornget the go-ahead to get made at all. It also reminded me of what itrnused to be like in the days before video recorders when I was a littlernkid. Whenever a movie came on TV it was a cultural event as a largernpercentage of the population sat down to watch it at the same time – werncouldn't record it to watch it later or pause it to go and make a cuprnof tea we simply had to make time for it at the given moment and watch.rnI obviously wouldn't swap the flexibility we have nowadays but therernwas something to be said for sharing a movie at the same time asrnmillions of others. And in a sense, the simultaneous cinema and TVrnrelease of A Field in England brings back this scenario and for that Irnam quite thankful.The film itself? Well, it's a quite difficult one to accurately judgernon a single viewing, as it was pretty confusing on the whole. DirectorrnBen Wheatley said that he wanted to transport the viewer into the worldrnof Civil War England with little exposition to explain what was goingrnon. He wanted us to enter a world where the characters do things thatrnwould be second nature to them without actually explaining to us whyrnthey were doing them. It's a reasonable enough idea as events in thernfilm appear somewhat surreal as a result. Having said that, I thinkrnit's obvious that the story is bizarre regardless of this. It involvesrnan alchemist's assistant and some soldiers fleeing a battle and meetingrnan ominous cavalier in a field. The latter is looking for somernunspecified treasure and he uses these men to find it. Throw in somernmagic mushrooms to complicate matters and you have one very weirdrnmovie.I'm not 100% certain what to make of it on one viewing. It frustratedrnme a bit I have to admit, as it didn't necessarily make the most of thernsinister possibilities inherent in its storyline. And by the end Irnreally wasn't all that sure what had just happened. But it did intriguernme a little and I would be interested in returning to it at some laterrnpoint. The cinematography was very good at times, while the soundtrackrnhad an interesting mix of medieval drums, folk and ambient electronica.rnActing was good enough with Reece Shearsmith of The League of Gentlemenrnalways a welcome presence, while Michael Smiley was effective in the role as therncavalier. I'm not entirely convinced by A Field in England at thernminute but I feel like unique films of this type should at least bernencouraged in the UK so for that reason I am going to cut it somernslack.rn