Mushrooms, Magic and Mayhem in A Field in England

Having enjoyed and endured (in almost equally pleasurable measure) Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, I had very high hopes for A Field in England (or Dude, Where’s My Alehouse?). With the premise of a magic mushroom-fuelled nightmare ride through the margins of the English Civil War, this was clearly not going to be standard multiplex fare. The plot, what there is of one, keeps you off balance, as does the cinematography. Michael Smiley is terrific as the bonkers and rather frightening O’Neill, but Reece Shearsmith is the real star of AFIE. In particular, the slo-mo start to the ‘divining sequence’ is a truly grotesque and macabre piece of cinema that will live long in the memory. Two days after that first viewing I’m still not sure what I made of it all, and I need to watch it again, not in a ‘Wow, that was amazing!’ kind of way but rather a ‘What the heck?’ kind of way. Maybe I just need more mushrooms.

Here’s the trailer for the uninitiated:

Update 22 July 13: So I watched AFIE a second time and I am happy to report that this is a film which gets better with every viewing. In fact, I’m prepared to give it ‘potential future classic’ status.

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