Directed by Ben Wheatley
Starring Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Kenneth Hadley
Review by Jordan
From the historic ruins surrounded by lush greenery to the museums focussing on trams and pencils, there is a distinct charm about the English countryside. This charm is never less evident than in Sightseers, Ben Wheatley’s deviously dark comedy about a shy, confidence-stripped man, Chris (Steve Oram), who just wants to show his new girlfriend Tina (Alice Lowe) his passion in life; relaxing, structured caravanning getaways.
As the two middle-aged lovers embark on this journey of self-discovery, they are greeted by numerous tourists who display rude, selfish and obnoxious tendencies, and threaten to ruin the holiday. When Chris accidentally kills one such person, he appears to get a taste for it, and with Tina as his ‘muse’ they are both determined to achieve respect and reach their destination with dignity even if it does mean murder… and as Chris does state, by killing people he is reducing their carbon footprint, therefore ‘murder is green.’ We can each do our bit for the environment.
Funny, engaging, honest, bleak and on occasion disturbing, Sightseers is a notch on the belt of one of the most promising directors currently working and made my list of the top 5 films of 2012. Tina and Chris are quotable characters that will endure for decades at least, the humour resonates loudly with its elements of unfortunate realism and the violence is surprisingly shocking, with one snobbish fool copping it the worst when he asks Tina to pick up after her dog before he reports her to the National Trust. This is a film that has garnered unbelievably positive reviews from both critics and audiences the world over for a reason, it is quite unlike anything else ever made. It takes the shell of Bonnie and Clyde and fills it with obsessive knitting, dog whispering and the use of a giant pencil… ladies and gentlemen I implore you to support Wheatley in viewing this, either before or after his equally impressive Kill List (2011), because he may be on the cusp of overtaking Shane Meadows as the preeminent film voice in the UK.
I could write on, but I’ll leave you with a quote which acts as an insight into the mind of our hero:
“This is exactly how I imagined it. No one sticking their nose in. No one penetrating the mind. Take the noble English oak, Old Knobbley. That won’t stab you in the back or belittle your five year plan. That tree won’t… steal things that belong to you and put them in another place. That tree won’t involve itself in low-level bullying that means you have to leave work.”
So if you come across two socially awkward travellers on your holiday, be like Old Knobbley and be nice to them. Not too nice, but nice enough… and if they ask to have a look at your new model caravan, it is advisable to be hospitable. Also, don’t litter. Especially not on antique trams.
4.5 misplaced sewing needles out of 5