We are mere days away from the release of A Field in England, the latest film from non conformist director extraordinaire Ben Wheatley. Following on from the underground successes of Down Terrace, Kill List, Sightseers and his contribution to the Horror Anthology The ABC’s of Death, Wheatley has considerably lowered the budget and upped the craziness to a whole new level.
Filmed in just 12 days on a budget of £300,000, A Field in England sees English Civil War deserters hunting for treasure in a mushroom laced field. After eating the mushrooms the story takes a turn for the hallucinogenic, as the men descend into a chaotic mix of arguments, fighting and paranoia.
What’s possibly most impressive and innovative about this already highly original looking piece of cinema, is its release pattern. It comes out this Friday (5th July) and will be available from day one on DVD, Blu-ray, On Demand on Film4 and also……..drum roll please…… in cinemas! In a move that has already been compared to Radiohead’s controversial “you pay what you want” release of In Rainbows, Wheatley’s film will be put out in free and payable formats on the same day. Will this revolutionise the cinematic landscape? I suppose only time will tell, but Wheatley has gone on record as saying he only cares about how many people see the film, not how much they pay. Talking to the Independent he said “If 1 million people see it on Friday on telly that’s as good word of mouth as you are ever going to get…..you are putting it out for free but we will have a general audience of people who otherwise wouldn’t have seen it at all.”
This fantastic stance reflects the incredibly varied and original output Wheatley has created thus far. He seems like a guy genuinely in love with cinema. And like the most passionate artists in the world, is more interested in as many people as possible seeing his work, than the amount of money he will walk away with at the end of the day.
So how will you be seeing A Field in England? Will you pay or will you Sky+ it to watch for free at your own convenience?