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Karlovy Vary Review: Ben Wheatley's 'A Field In England'

  • By Jessica Kiang
  • |
  • July 4, 2013 3:46 PM
  • |
A Field In England
Imagine attempting a super-low-budget, rapidly shot mashup of the melancholic aesthetic of Ingmar Bergman, the comedic sensibility of Mel Brooks and the tonal uneasiness of Lars Von Trier -- you'd probably end up with a complete mess of a film. However, that's not the case for Ben Wheatley, whose willfully abstruse "A Field in England" more or less fits that bill (by way of Samuel Beckett, "The Wicker Man" and Sergio Leone, if you want to fine tune the comparison, but we could probably continue throwing names at it all day and finding most of them stick) and comes out as a totally unique, often brilliant, deliberate partial mess instead. Reteaming the director, who, off the back of his feature triptych of "Down Terrace," "Kill List" and "Sightseers" has become something of an indie phenomenon, with regular writer Amy Jump, the film is the most formally experimental, and probably the least approachable, of the director's titles to date. But it's further proof of Wheatley's singular sensibilities as a filmmaker: the film's dark comedy, occasional gory violence and constant profanity are immediately recognizable as hallmarks, even as the black and white cinematography (often very beautiful), period setting and parable-like feel sees him move into new, uncharted territory.

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