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"Bull" McCabe's family has farmed a field for generations, sacrificing endlessly for the sake of the land. And when the widow who owns the field decides to sell the field in a public auction, McCabe knows that he must own it. But while no one in the village would dare bid against him, an American with deep pockets decides that he needs the field to build a highway. The Bull and his son decide to convince the American to give up bidding on the field, but things go horribly wrong. Written by
I had never heard of The Field before, and I could hardly believe how good it is. What a shame that it is so little known. The story starts out slowly but builds up to a climax that is perfectly logical, totally based on character, and awesome in its intensity.
The script is superb, particularly in that use of language at which the best Irish writers are unsurpassed. But the real strength of the movie lies in the amazing performance of Richard Harris, surely one of the all-time great movie performances. He should easily have won the Oscar over Jeremy Irons in Reversal of Fortune, brilliant though Irons is; perhaps Irons only won because too few people had seen The Field. Bull McCabe is a great character who is being torn apart by conflicting emotions: his love for the land, his love for his son, his love for God and for the Church, and his frustration at never being able to achieve what is important to him. His devastation at the end reminded me a lot of King Lear, and indeed this movie has a power like one of the best of Shakespeare's tragedies. As one reviewer has already noted, the only weakness is the poorly-sketched character of the American and its lack of a believable motivation. Even with that weakness, it rises far above most of what passes for serious drama these days.
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