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Few contemporary directors have burst onto the scene with the speed and showmanship of Ben Wheatley, whose five films to date – including the cult hit Kill List (2011) and the psychedelic Medieval midnight movie A Field in England (2013) – daringly combine avant-garde techniques with grindhouse violence and a wicked sense of humor. A genuinely independent filmmaker with a tight-knit group of regular collaborators, Wheatley has established himself as a brand name in contemporary British cinema and with his new adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s brutal science-fiction novel High Rise, he is to break through on the international stage. By meticulously examining the themes and visual style of Wheatley’s films and connecting them to the history of British genre cinema – including such classics as The Wicker Man (1971) and Don’t Look Now (1974) Nayman places this unique filmmaker in a larger context while arguing for his early inclusion into the canon. In addition to being the first book-length study of its subject’s work, Ben Wheatley: Confusion and Carnage also features an all-new interview with Ben Wheatley.
“Confusion and Carnage is a wonderful, loving glimpse into the Wheatley World of genre implosion, narrative hand grenades, and madcap violence. Nayman’s writing style is witty and eminently readable – a perfect match for the films at hand. His incisive dissection of Wheatley’s work illuminates both the inner workings and the broader context of his already-formidable oeuvre. Any filmmaker would be lucky to receive such a treatment, and any fan of darn-good film writing will appreciate this book.” – Athina Rachel Tsangari, filmmaker (Chevalier)
“Ben Wheatley is one of the most exciting young directors in contemporary cinema, and this book is an ideal companion to his senses-scattering, genre-shattering body of work. Adam Nayman expertly tunes us in to the remarkable sights, sounds, and experiences that make each of Wheatley’s films impossible to forget. Whether you are new to Wheatley or well-acquainted with him, this book will sharpen your understanding of this important filmmaker in eye-opening ways.” – Adam Lowenstein, University of Pittsburgh, author of Dreaming of Cinema: Spectatorship, Surrealism, and the Age of Digital Media
“In this book, Adam Nayman gives us an enjoyably fleet trip through the young career of Ben Wheatley—placing him squarely in a lineage of great British troublemakers, from Alan Clarke and Peter Watkins to Nic Roeg and Michael Powell, and thereby giving Wheatley’s dangerously off-axis aesthetic its proper due.” – Chris Dumas, author of Un-American Psycho: Brian De Palma and the Political Invisible
“Just the sort of short, sharp volley of a book Wheatley’s slyly allusive, plangently enigmatic, viscerally mind-warping cinema so richly warrants.” – Howard Hampton, author of Born in Flames: Termite Dreams, Dialectical Fairy Tales, and Pop Apocalypses
Adam Nayman is a contributing editor to Cinema Scope, author of It Doesn’t Suck: Showgirls (ECW Press, 2014), and Cinema Studies instructor at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. He lives in Toronto.