Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 10, 2019)
Now best known for her role in Aquaman, Amber Heard takes the lead in 2018ís neo noir London Fields. Based on Martin Amisís novel, Nicola Six (Heard) boasts clairvoyant powers, and she foresees her own murder.
Her skills allow Nicola to narrow down the list of suspects to three men. She uses her sex appeal to seduce these potential killers and solve the impending mystery.
According to Box Office Mojo, Fields played on 613 screens in the US and eventually grossed about $252,000. How is this possible?
No, Fields doesnít come packed with mega-stars, but it features known actors like Heard, Billy Bob Thornton, Cara Delevingne and Theo James Ė as well as a major star in an unbilled cameo. It also comes from a successful novel, albeit one that hit shelves almost 30 years before the movie made it to screens.
Perhaps that extended time in limbo robbed Fields of its box office potential Ė or maybe prospective viewers just knew to stay away from this train wreck. Whatever dramatic potential the source boasts gets obliterated in this mess of a movie.
Amis co-wrote the screen adaptation, and I get the feeling he tried too hard to remain true to the source. Much of Fields smacks of literary conceits that might work on the printed page but that seem overwrought and incomprehensible in filmed form.
At its core, Fields comes with a pretty simple plot, as it concentrates on the way Nicola toys with the various men in her life to deal with her possible fate. With a more straightforward exploration, the film could become an entertaining little femme fatale tale.
Unfortunately, the film buries its narrative under so many pointless stylistic conceits that any potential drama and entertainment go by the wayside. Much more concerned with its overdone cinematic choices than anything else, the movie feels incoherent.
Rather than focus on a logical narrative, Fields often seems more like a collection of random ďsceneletsĒ. While these connect to an overall story, they feel scattered and donít manage to give the viewer much about which to care.
None of the actors help. Heard looks stunning and fits the part in a visual way but she offers a consistently flat performance.
This becomes a particular problem because Nicola needs to give us a chameleon. The movie forces her to adopt different personalities for each man, but Heard canít pull off these shifts, so she seems unconvincing across the board.
We fully believe Heard as a seductress, as she oozes sex appeal. Itís the mental side of her game that Heard canít pull off, and she fails to bring us a compelling lead performance.
Not that anything else about Fields works Ė indeed, Heardís beauty becomes the movieís only redeeming factor. Otherwise, this ends up as a pointless waste of space.