The Field

John B Keane's play takes on some of the resonances of an Irish Lear in Jim Sheridan's adaptation. West Coast tenant farmer Bull McCabe (Harris) has lavished all his love upon a rented field which he hopes to leave to his weak son (Bean), in the belief that a man is nothing without land. His dream is shattered when the widowed owner puts it up for auction, and he is outbid by an outsider, an American (Berenger) with plans to modernise the area. Following the American's murder, Bull cracks apart, driving wilfully ever deeper into tragedy. Some of the ingredients are given - Bull's wife (Fricker) hasn't spoken to him in a decade, his second son killed himself - but most of the burden of developing a tragic character is down to Harris, and he layers it richly without too much thespian tilting of the beard into the elements. His Bull is a spectrum of patience, violence, parsimony and ceilidh, intimidating to his son and awesome to his fawning creature Bird O'Donnell (Hurt, also at his peak). Sense of place, time and custom are faultless, and despite a few narrative lurches, it's a moving experience.

Release details

Duration: 110 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jim Sheridan
Screenwriter: Jim Sheridan
Cast: Richard Harris
John Hurt
Tom Berenger
Sean Bean
Frances Tomelty
Brenda Fricker
John Cowley
Ruth McCabe
Sean McGinley

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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