Think 'A Walk In The Sun', set in 1645 but without engaging characters. MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT, which I hope will save you needing to endure this boring movie out of curiosity. It's boring because the characters are all completely uninteresting. Full exposition below:
Four very unpleasant, paranoid white men fight amongst each other during the English Civil War of around 1645. Two of them audition for 'Eastenders' (a superannuated gorblimey soap opera), two of them ineptly give it old-skool Shakespearian.
After 10 minutes, I simply don't care what happens to any of them. The costumes are good (one star), the visualization itself of authentic period is pretty convincing for its budget (two stars); though the not-quite-right accents vary a lot. The fate of any of these unpleasant people doesn't interest me in the least.
After 14 minutes we start to get the reflective, expositional bit from 'The Long And The Short And The Tall'. It doesn't engender any sympathy for the characters.
Oh! There's some deliberately inept singing, which starts to fade out, thankfully. A man defecates in the field, while the inept music continues. In the interests of authenticity, we witness the defecation as it seems he is constipated. The men find some mushrooms as they cook. Authentic, hey?
They eat, noisily, They are heading for an alehouse in Monmouthshire (Wales). I still don't care about a single one of them; whether this is because their accents are unconvincing, or the characters are simply unengaging I don't care enough to tell.
It seems the mushrooms were hallucinogenic. The 4 men pull on a rope, which appeared from nowhere. 'What beautiful colours', one of them says. 20 minutes have passed, and I still have no reason to give two hoots about any of them. They've magically found O'Neill, the Irish fugitive the first man was chasing, who is being kicked to death, because, well, because.
Oh, he's not dead, they just take him prisoner. The psilocybin starts to kick in with the other three. The Irishman O'Neill is no more engaging than any of the others; he's angry, ambitious, and cynical. Apparently (after 36 minutes) he mystically reveals that the field 'holds a great treasure', which the other four must find and dig up for him. He threatens to turn one of the Eastenders into a frog. More music, with a 'Draughtsman's Contract' lilt.
O'Neill finds a tent from nowhere and synthesisers play as the apparent hero Whitehead (who's a coward) emerges from the tentin slo-mo after implied s*d*my, a rope around him.
45 minutes gone. O'Neill has asserted his dominance. I still don't care in the slightest what happens to any of them. I'm only watching to see if it makes sense (it does, but so does the Maastricht Treaty).
'Release me, I beg' pleads Whitehead. I know how he feels. They dig a deep hole, then make camp. The particularly unpleasant Cockney falls sick. Whitehead examines his todger with a magnifying glass; he's got many 17th century diseases. The suspense is nonexistent. Nearly an hour gone.
It may be the next day, maybe not. They continue to dig. Whitehead staggers into the field and hallucinates a large black sun, apparently O'Neill's scrying glass. The Cockney men fight in the hole. The third man (Cutler) urinates on them, then shoots the stupid one, who gives a very unpleasant dying speech.
58 minutes; there are four left.
They still dig. And talk (swearing, mostly). Whitehead drags the body away for a 'Christian' burial. It takes him several long minutes.
A gong sounds. It seems Cutler has found the treasure, but there was never an alehouse. The scrying glass appears again. O'Neill searches for Whitehead, gun drawn. Is this making sense to you? Whitehead eats some more mushrooms.
Cutler uncovers a skeleton, and shoots at it. Whitehead stuffs his mouth with hallucinogenic mushrooms. and at 1:06 a psychedelic sequence (in monochrome) ensues. A strong wind gets up. Whitehead trips. It's a bad one. It goes on for at least five minutes. Do I care? No. The tent blows over. Cutler seems now to want to save Whitehead from the homicidal O'Neill. O'Neill shoots the other bloke, now there are three. O'Neill reloads and paces the field. Cutler retrieves the dead man's pistol. More time passes.
The stupidest man, who it seems was not dead after all, despite having bled to death, pops up energetically and gives away their position to O'Neill. O'Neill shoots Cutler from 70 yards, but only in the hip. Cutler shoots O'Neill's leg in half.
A Mexican standoff, the sure giveaway of a scriptwriter in trouble, ensues. To cut a Mexican standoff short, Whitehead shoots O'Neill's face off. The Draughtsman's Contract music crescendos. Whitehead fills the hole, bodies included, in.
8 minutes left. Whitehead makes some stew, which may be O'Neill. The music goes heavy metal-baroque. Whitehead goes back to the smoke'n'foley battle. We're back where we started, none the wiser. His three dead friends reappear to him. Is it over? Yes, thank gawd.
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