Wandering through the English countryside a group of deserting soliders flee a battle gone horribly wrong. Having witnessed death they seek comfort and shelter at a distant ale house. Only too late do they realize that two men have commandeered them for a dark purpose: the finding of a great treasure. Having escaped one master they are now under new management; one of them says of their new lord, named O’ Neil, “It does not surprise me that the Devil is an Irishman, though I thought perhaps a little taller.”
This is only the beginning of their horrors, both seen and lurking beneath the surface. A Field In England has many of the grace notes of a Ben Wheatley film, only in this case he dials up the surreal factor to new heights. Part drug trip part nightmarish journey into a fresh green hell, filmed in glorious black and white, this is a jarring and harsh movie. There is even some grin inducing bleak humor, followed by sharp and nasty violence. Each man falls prey to their own nature, with one of them transforming. Into what, well….that is a bit unclear.
As in all of Wheatley’s films truths emerge and people’s real selves are unwrapped, as if they were nasty presents from a demonic Santa. Chaso erupts and lives are changed forever. That stark final shot is perhaps the most jarring and odd climax to any of Wheatley’s works, and I have no idea what it means. Still this is a creepy and excellent movie, fine tuned and crafted to give the viewer an outer worldly experience.