Film Review: Sightseers

Directed by Ben Wheatley
Starring Steve Oram & Alice Lowe

Ah, the Lake District. Rolling hills, lush green fields, misty mountains and sparkling Lakes of. . . BLOOD! After the one, two punch of Down Terrace and Kill List, Director Ben Wheatley continues his wicked pace with Sightseers which turns the time honoured British holiday tradition of the camping holiday into carravaning carnage.

Chris (Oram) is eager to show his new girlfriend Tina (Lowe) his world and he wants to do it his way – on a journey through the British Isles in his beloved caravan. Tina’s led a sheltered life and there are things that Chris needs her to see – the Crich Tramway Museum, the Ribblehead Viaduct, the Keswick Pencil Museum and the rolling countryside that accompanies these wonders in his life. But it doesn’t take long for the dream to fade. Litterbugs, noisy teenagers and pre-booked caravan sites, not to mention Tina’s meddling mother, soon conspire to shatter Chris’s dreams and send him, and anyone who rubs him up the wrong way, over a very jagged edge.

Actors Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, who also wrote the script, developed the characters of Chris & Tina initially for theare and then a TV pilot which was rejected for being ‘too dark’, but their project found it’s way into the hands of Big Talk Productions and Edgar Wright who brought in Ben Wheatley after seeing his two previous films and in no time Lowe, Oram and Wheatley were filming in the great British Countryside.

Anybody who’s seen Kill List and is expecting a what-the-hell-was-that? edge of the seat mystery drenched with foreboding can relax because Sightseers is a pitch black comedy. The smart script and well crafted performances steer it comfortably from falling into the trap of most high concept comedies and becoming a one-joke movie. These characters feel real and evolve organically. Henry David Thoreau said that ‘most men lead lives of quiet desperation’ and what this movie does is shake the soda bottle of these characters pent up emotions and let it explode on screen in the most entertaining way.

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