Prolific director Ben Wheatley followed up 2015’s High-Rise with Free Fire, another film about the disintegration of a boxed-in mini-society. Both efforts are similar in this sense, observing a group of strangers forced into close quarters, casting us as the voyeuristic witnesses on a direct descent away from normalcy. Both films begin methodically, High-Rise introducing a futuristic all-inclusive living complex and Free Fire peeping in on an arms deal in an abandoned warehouse. And both can only ever end one way: in chaos, loud and bloody.
Tag: Ben Wheatley
A field suggests possibilities; its openness welcomes any old soul to seek his treasure; its terrain allows all sorts of physical or spiritual pursuits. The title, A Field in England, immediately brings to mind a vivid image, and gives away a carefree attitude about which field is the one in question, and what happens on it. The obscurity and infinite possibilities of the film’s narrative and style are hinted at first in the title.
Director Ben Wheatley and screenwriter Amy Jump’s field is a simple field adjacent to a battlefield. Theirs is one of possibilities for personal battles, discoveries, treasures, friendship and mind-altering mushrooms. Unsurprisingly, A Field in England cannot be contained in a single genre category, confined by one aesthetic style or another, or limited by the use of a distinct narrative device or two. It mishmashes a number of devices and forms, as well as lenses, sound effects, visual effects and music.
Madness is my greatest fear. Logically I know the odds of being attacked by a shark or stalked by serial killer are in fact quite low. When films depict those unlikely threats, I have fun suspending my disbelief and going along with those characters on their ride of fear. But insanity is a different sort of threat all together. Who is to say that I won’t just flip my lid one day and lose control? I don’t even have a way to prove that I’m sane at this very moment, let alone guarantee that I’ll be able to maintain what little composure I have for the rest of my life. Madness feels like a very real threat to my life and livelihood, and films that show a character’s plummet into their own insanity can be the most effective way to bring me close to true horror.