The first trailer for Kill List and Sightseers director Ben Wheatley’s new film A Field in England has just dropped online and it looks promising to say the very least. Wheatley is an immensely talented new filmmaker who, in only three years, has carved out a uniquely arresting set of films. He’s quickly gained critical praise and is poised to break out into a much bigger profile soon enough.
Shot in a rapid — if not seriously impressive — twelve days and in black and white, the film is about a group of deserters during the English Civil War who flee from battle and join up with an alchemist who forces them to help him in his mad search for a hidden treasure. Apropos of Wheatley’s disturbing style, everything is not quite as it seems as the men soon descend into psychosis brought on by crazed visions and psychedelic mushrooms. Added extra: how about the Kubrickian Futura font in the title cards that pop up throughout.
When Wheatley’s second film Kill List curiously lacked a release from IFC last year I was holding out hope that Criterion would scoop it up and add it to their esteemed ranks for their October slate, but it was then given an IFC Midnight release on Blu-ray and DVD putting damper on my wishful thinking, though there is a possibility for Sightseers to get the treatment. A Field in England, however, is being distributed in the US by the mad geniuses over at Drafthouse Films later this year so expect a lavish home video release from them to follow soon after. Our lucky friends in the UK will get to see the film when it rolls out on all platforms, including VOD, on July 5th.
Wheatley is a bracingly original filmmaker who already has two new projects on the horizon – the first: a bigger budgeted and ambitious sci-fi film he’s planning to shoot in America called Freakshift, and the second: a secret thriller he’s developing for HBO called Silk Road – and he’s the type of up-and-comer that needs to be recognized, hopefully by the Criterion Collection.