Heads Up: Ben Wheatley's Civil War movie A Field in England
Forgive me, Lord, for I am a miserable sinner tripping off my nut
Saturday 08 June 2013
What are we talking about? A psychedelic English Civil War film. No, we don't really know what that means either. But it will feature magic mushrooms, a treasure hunt, and talking fields.
Elevator pitch The Wicker Man meets Deliverance meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Prime movers Director Ben Wheatley, of brilliantly genre-defying Kill List and Sightseers fame. It's written by Wheatley's wife Amy Jump, who also co-wrote Sightseers. We've learned to expect the unexpected from Wheatley, and so far he hasn't put a foot wrong. Can he score a hat-trick with this latest offering?
The stars The cast of five comprises Kill List's Michael Smiley, The League of Gentlemen's Reece Shearsmith and The Mighty Boosh's Julian Barratt, along with Ryan Pope and Peter Ferdinando. Smiley, bringing his understated danger to the character of the alchemist, is probably the last person you'd want to encounter while tripping.
The early buzz By all accounts, if you only see one black and white horror film about 17th-century deserters and alchemists this year, make it this one. Uncut praises the film's eerie score and "attention to landscape and natural lighting that, on occasion, recalls Terrence Malick". In Empire, Kim Newman describes it as "an impressive, haunting picture". In The Independent, Alice Jones wrote: "Wheatley had wanted to make a Civil War movie since the start of his career when … he began to follow the historical re-enactment society The Sealed Knot as they staged their costumed Civil War battles around the country."
Insider knowledge This is the first film to be fully financed and developed by Film4's "innovative idea-driven hub", Film 4.0.
It's great that … Wheatley is such a prolific film-maker: this is his third feature film in as many years, and was shot over only 12 days. His next film Freakshift is already under way, as is his sci-fi HBO TV show Silk Road.
It's a shame that … you might have to sleep with the lights on after seeing this. It gets a bit nasty.
Hit potential Unlikely to beat, say, Iron Man 3's mass box office success, but it has all the markings of another cult classic.
The details A Field in England is released on 5 July. It's coming out simultaneously in the cinema, on DVD, Freeview and Video on Demand – the first British film to do so.
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