A Field in England

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A psychedelic trip into magic and madness.

Director: Ben Wheatley
Year: 2013
Country: UK
Running time: 90 mins
Censor Rating: M - violence, offensive language

Producers: Claire Jones, Andrew Starke
Screenplay: Amy Jump
Photography: Laurie Rose
Editors: Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley
Production designer: Andy Kelly
Sound: Martin Pavey
Music: James Williams
B&W/DCP

With: Julian Barratt, Peter Ferdinando, Richard Glover, Ryan Pope, Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley

The latest from Ben Wheatley, the award-winning director of previous NZIFF hits Kill List and Sightseers, is a psychedelic folk-horror set during the English Civil War, likely to delight and perplex in equal measure. Low on plot but high on style and dialogue, it follows a band of deserters led by Reece Shearsmith (League of Gentlemen) and Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh). Fleeing from the battlefield, they eventually fall under the spell of a sinister alchemist, played by Michael Smiley (Kill List), who entices them into a search for gold. After wolfing down too many magic mushrooms, the group quickly descends into a chorus of arguments and psychedelic anxiety, all intensified by monochromatic Kubrickian compositions and electronic soundscapes embellished with 17th-century folk songs. Wheatley’s signature traits of violence, black humour and deep dread pervade this earthy examination of madness in an English field. — Ant Timpson