Tag Archives: Ben Wheatley

Midnight Screenings: The Films of Ben Wheatley

This post being slightly in honor of Wheatley’s directing of the first episode of Doctor Who Season 8, and mostly in honor of him just being a highly talented new filmmaker I happened to have a few mini-reviews written on. Seriously, do check this guy out. 

A Field in England

A Field in England opens with a warning about the film’s psychotic, psychedelic imagery, but it serves, and was likely intended, as much as a badge of honor– the film’s visuals are gloriously perturbed, and the trickery on display is the film’s biggest selling point. This is all the more true when one considers the film’s enigmatic narrative and its clear subversions, even from it’s opening moments. If the film opens with the aforementioned warning about its visual nature, it immediately cuts to a black screen with only chaotic sound for thirty or so seconds, pointedly delaying what it’s just promised us. Then, of course, there’s the film’s black-and-white monotony when we now automatically associate visual splendor with cheerful color, and the fact that the film opens with a battle scene captured purely in close-ups and shots of single people, as well as quavering images of bushes. It doesn’t play like a battle in reality, but as the arch impression of a battle, the sense of chaos and loneliness ever-present but indescribable when on the edge of life and death – it’s an almost abstract collage of imagery distant from context to convey the holistic difficulty of understanding war. A Field in England is a pure, distilled cinematic hell.
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