Richard Harris, his beard as long and white as Father Time’s, won his Oscar nomination — and deserved more — as Bull McCabe, a bog-Irish farmer obsessed with owning a field he’s tended from rock to greenery in The Field. Harris, a chronic ham, restrains himself and finds tremendous reserves of power as the proud, overbearing, belligerent, and embittered McCabe, who has not talked to his wife (Brenda Fricker) in 18 years and keeps his son (Sean Bean) in virtual slavery. When a visiting Yank (Tom Berenger) tries to outbid McCabe on the field, a series of tragedies ensues.
On video, it somehow feels as if these people have stopped by your home for a visit, though Jim Sheridan’s (My Left Foot) empathic direction can’t quite conceal the film’s theatrical origins and is occasionally too set up and ”cinematic” for its own good. As a map of the road taken by the human heart toward madness, though, The Field is painfully detailed. B+