“It does not surprise me that the Devil is an Irishman, though I thought perhaps a little taller.”Friend
A hallucinatory experience set during the English Civil War, realism waxes and wanes throughout A Field in England, its occult themes obtusely depicted through contemporaneous folklore imagery like mushroom circles whilst eschewing expository explanation. Throughout much of his directorial career, Ben Wheatley has surrounded himself with same creative cadre from film to film, including writer Amy Jump and cinematographer Laurie Rose. Shooting in black and white (which was experiencing a revival in the early 2010s) allows the audience to take in the texture of costumes and landscapes without the garish overload of colourful uniforms that would detract from the actors. It also no doubt helped a tight shooting schedule on a frugal budget of under £350,000. A Field in England is interspersed with tableaux vivants, awkwardly staged by the characters as a visual language pre-dating the dawn of cinema, a medium that would make sense to the characters if not the audience. Meanwhile disjointed depictions wrong-foot the viewer like diagetic singing around a campfire, accompanied by a lute from nowhere. The overall result is ethereal filmmaking, physically constrained to a single field yet broader in imaginative scope.