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Sightseers - Film Review

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by Louis Fameli (subscribe)
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For this couple, their holiday takes some unexpected turns
Three words: Very. Dark. Comedy. This is the best way to describe Sightseers, the film by Ben Wheatley. The film follows the story of Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram), an oddball couple who decide to take a trip around the English countryside. The difference between Tina and Chris and the vast majority of other holidaying couples is their penchant for disposing of people they find rude or disrespectful.

Sightseers Poster, courtesy of Rialto Distribution.
Sightseers Poster, courtesy of Rialto Distribution.

The film opens with scenes between Tina and her mother Carol (Eileen Davies), with much of the discussion surrounding how Tina was 'responsible' for their dog, Poppy's, untimely passing. The banter between mother and daughter is often funny, with Tina being told in no uncertain terms what Carol is thinking. Among her one-liners are a blunt questioning of why Chris is in her room, otherwise known as her 'sanctum' and a frank admission about whether or not Tina was a planned child.

After leaving her mother behind, Tina and Chris set off on their weeklong journey with their caravan in tow. The first stop is the Crich Tramway Museum, complete with tour and tea and scones. The only problem is, one of their fellow tour-goers litters on the bus and gestures rudely toward Chris when he asks the man to pick it up. After seeing the man litter a few more times Chris cannot help himself, and when the opportunity arises, Chris "accidentally" runs the man down.

A scene from Sightseers, courtesy of Rialto Distribution.
A scene from Sightseers, courtesy of Rialto Distribution.

That is the first of what becomes an ever-mounting body count for the pair. After finding some unmistakable evidence of Chris' murderous activities, Tina becomes aware of what is going on, but decides not to report her boyfriend as he tells her it was all for her. This leads to more fatalities, and eventually Tina decides to get in on the act, throwing a bride-to-be off a cliff after catching her kissing Chris in a drunken encounter. However, this is where the trouble starts for the happy couple.

The cast, especially Lowe and Oram as the leads, do a fine job of making their oddball characters believable. They are created to be equal parts ridiculous, caricatured and at times slightly chilling, with seemingly no empathy for the people they leave behind in their path of destruction. Also worth mentioning is Davies as Tina's mother who, while only present for very brief periods, makes the most of her role.

A scene from Sightseers, courtesy of Rialto Distribution.
A scene from Sightseers, courtesy of Rialto Distribution.

There are some genuinely funny and laugh out loud moments in Sightseers. Among my favourites were the exchanges between Tina and her mother, who seems to revel in making her daughter feel guilty about even the smallest of things. Additionally, some of the banter between Tina and Chris is darkly funny, an example being how 'removing' people cuts down on carbon emissions, so in reality the pair are helping the environment with their murderous deeds.

However, with all that said, there is something very unsettling about watching a couple go around ending lives for the smallest of reasons. This is heightened when Tina finds her flair for spontaneous murder. Additionally, while the characters who are killed off are hardly likeable, they do not inspire enough ire to be treated so brutally.

All in all, Sightseers is not a film for the feint hearted, and not for those who like run of the mill comedy. This film finds its humour in the darkest of places and the most un-politically correct of themes and enjoys every minute of it.


Another angle: For viewers wanting a comedy without the dark undertones, they will want to steer clear of these offbeat Sightseers.

Watch the trailer:

*Louis reviewed the film courtesy of Rialto Distribution.
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Why? It's one of the darkest comedies you'll see this year
When: See local cinema guides.
Where: Limited release, check local cinema guides.
Cost: See local cinema guides.
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