An alchemist’s assistant, played by Reece Shearsmith , and a group of deserters try and navigate the battlefields of the English Civil War.
I like the films of Ben Wheatley for the most part even though sometimes they miss the mark. However, this film I think may be his worst and misses the mark by a large degree boiling down into pretentious nonsense that feels like the sort of thing a first year film student might make if they couldn’t decide on a narrative direction for their film and instead decided to throw everything at the wall.
This is clearly most experimental work but that isn’t a good thing as it makes the film feel far too art house for its own good, coming across as an effort in pretention. Additionally, this decision to be experimental means there are big sections of the narrative that make little to no sense and don’t really fit with the tone of the rest of the film, this doesn’t come across as some brave stylistic decision but rather a lack of ability to write narrative and an attempt to disguise lazy writing by being pretentious.
The only thing that really gripped me about this film is the occult focus which I enjoyed and which did deliver some good scares, we could have done with more of this and less silly art house nonsense.
Overall, Wheatley pushes the boundary into how art house he can be and still maintain audience interest and arguably goes too far.
A few good scares
The occult stuff later into the film
It is pretentious
Some sections of the film don’t fit
It has awful pacing
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