5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Pretentious, but great,
This review is from: A Field In England [DVD] (DVD)
Set against a backdrop of the English Civil War, this black and white offering is not your typical 17th Century period drama. In fact only the costumes and the atmospheric soundtrack places it in that era. The dialogue does indicate Old-English, but this is interspersed with modern phrases to make it purposefully less historically accurate so to appeal and be relevant to today's viewers.
After deserting the war our merry band of men are being led by the promise of ale, food and women. They settle down to feast on a broth of fresh mushrooms picked from the field they are trudging through, as expected this is where things get a little bizarre. The men observe a well crafted wooden stake and all pull on a rope to eventually reveal our fifth companion. He uses the others to find treasure in the field in a very odd tent screaming shot followed by an equally as odd, but very cinematic slow motion sequence, leading to finding the treasure which is just as peculiar. The final third of the film goes off the deep end and gives the end of 2001 a run-for-its-money.
This could be classed as a pretentious arthouse flick with the strange visuals and nonsensical script. However, it doesn't take itself too seriously, it's full of throwaway gags and toilet humour, but can then launch into graphic violence.
On another level we see that the group only succeeds when they work together, they need each other to survive. We have a mean leader who forces the others to do his bidding by punishment or the promise of something better, quite literally the downtrodden working for 'the man' . There is class-struggle to overthrow this leader and his downfall, but also the fear of running away from responsibilities and growing as an individual. Or maybe this is reading too much into it!
Either way, characters are quickly developed as each man plays a particular role in the group. The story almost seems secondary to these characters, the relationships between them and the films 'feel'. The mood is controlled by not only the score but the subtleties in each character, there is an emotional response to each on-screen presence, all credit to the actors and director for this.
This won't appeal to everyone, but if you like arty nonsense films that are, rambling, seedy, trippy and on the whole pointless, this may be for you.