A Field In England: An Art House Period Film About Psychedelic Mushrooms

July 16, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Somewhere in 17th Century England, a group of deserting soldiers encounters a “necromancer” and “alchemist,” who forces them to look for a hidden treasure in a field. Amidst their submissive scampering and digging, “The world is turned upside down and so is its pockets.”

The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw called the film “grisly and visceral, an occult, monochrome-psychedelic breakdown…. Amid the carnage of war, the men’s fear of death, pain and the non-existence of God creates the conditions for general hysteria that is ignited by eating the variously shaped mushrooms sprouting in the soil.” This all very exciting, as psychedelic trips are notoriously difficult to properly represent on film. Portraying the despair of sovereignty, existential cynicism and other life-altering (or destroying?) “horrors of the mind,” the film sounds like it’s accomplished something pretty extraordinary, considering the limitations of visual language and its chosen black and white format — what the Guardian described as “a shimmering chequerboard anxiety attack.”

If you missed the very limited New York release, Geekwire notes that the film has recently became available to stream with Prime Instant Video, along without other Drafthouse Films titles released with Amazon. Drafthouse’s Nick Cave quasi-documentary 20,000 Years on Earth and Michael Gondry’s Mood Indigo will be available through the platform later this year. See the trailer for A Field In England (directed by Ben Wheatley, written by Amy Jump) above.