Sightseers is the new film from Ben Wheatley, written by and starring Steve Oram (Chris) and Alice Lowe (Tina). There has been much buzz around this film since it’s success at Melbourne International Film Festival so I hot-footed it to Cineworld on its release full of expectation, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Tina and Chris are newly in love and about to embark on their first holiday together: touring the sights of Yorkshire in Chris’ caravan, from the National Tram Museum to Ribblehead Viaduct via Keswick Pencil Factory. Things take a turn for the worse when Chris starts to dispatch people who get in the way of his ideal trip, whether it is a litterbug (great nod to Exec Producer Edgar Wright in this scene by the way), the nosy National Trust Member, or the guy who is like you but just slightly better, and let’s face it we all hate those guys. The initial air of innocence soon leaves Tina when she is all to willing to go along with Chris’ justification of his violent action. Soon, rather than thinking that Chris is the one leading Tina astray, the viewer is treated to a delightfully satisfying role reversal as we see Tina posing in her saucy knitted underwear, the complacency with which she offs an innocent jogger, and of course the final scene. You definitely get the feeling that this was always going to happen to her, with or without her ginger faced man.
Sightseers is a black, black comedy, full of witty one-liners (“He’s not a person, he’s a Daily Mail reader.”), ridiculously squelchy, gruesome deaths and absurdism, set against the romantic beauty of the English countryside.
In short, go and see this film. It’s a rom-com for fans of horror, British social realism and cagoules. And who doesn’t love a good cagoule? This might just make my top ten list for 2012. Highly recommended. Oh and if you were delighted by Uggie the dog from The Artist last year, you’ll love Smurf who plays Banjo/Poppy.