Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is encouraged by a mysterious voice to build a baseball pitch on his land. According to the celestial guide, this unusual step will result in the appearance of the ghost of his father's hero, the baseball legend Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta). Bemused yet intrigued by the heavenly intervention, Ray risks his livelihood installing the pitch, and finds an unlikely, and unwilling, partner to help explain the reasons he is doing so: burned-out radical author Terence Mann (James Earl Jones).
Field of Dreams is, in the words of its makers, a baseball film that "isn't about baseball". Rather, it's a magical film that works its spell on all but the most hard-boiled of viewers, an altogether superior slice of apple-pie sentimentality. Kevin Costner plays a young Iowa farmer who finds himself pestered by a whispering voice urging him, "If you build it, he will come". With the consent of an uncharacteristically supportive Hollywood wife (Amy Madigan) he sets about building a baseball diamond in the middle of his land. This action invites the prospect of bankruptcy--however, it also invites the spirit of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, a baseball superstar disgraced following his role in the 1919 World Series scandal. The supernatural voices continue to urge Costner to "go the distance"--and he seeks out reclusive writer Thomas Mann (James Earl Jones) and "Doc" Graham (Burt Lancaster), impelled by purposes he is as yet unable to divine. Field of Dreams works because it touches so endearingly on themes of redemption, inner peace and the possibility of second chances--the "dreams" which elude most of us. It also cites baseball as an idyllic metaphor for all that is decent and constant about America. Costner gives immense plausibility to an utterly, deliberately implausible scenario.
On the DVD: Presented in anamorphic 1.78:1, the vivid, almost unnaturally natural Iowa colours are depicted to vivid effect (much of the diamond grass had to be painted green when it died). Generous extras include a making-of feature, an interview with WP Kinsella, author of the novel on which the book is based, and Costner. Director/writer Phil Alden Robinson also provides a director's commentary in which he describes the logistical difficulties of assembling 1500 automobiles for the memorable final scene. --David Stubbs
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.