The Field shines because of Richard Harris's towering performance and the strength inherent in John B. Keane's source play. Screenwriter/director Jim Sheridan transfers much of Keane's well-designed symbolic structure, at times at the cost of the story's narrative flow. A sense of doomed resignation permeates the film, making its tragic ending almost inevitable. The film features a fine supporting cast, led by an almost unrecognizable John Hurt and including Brendan Gleeson in his screen debut and a good performance from Tom Berenger, whose character embodies Keane's criticism of Americanized Irish expatriates who have forgotten the old ways and lost their respect for the land. Critical opinion varied widely on The Field, ranging from those who saw it as an insightful parable for the transition of Ireland to a modern non-agrarian society, to such critics as Roger Ebert, who rated it among the worst films of 1990.