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Film review: SIGHTSEERS, from Built For Speed

The British black comedy Sightseers is one of the strangest and funniest films of the year.  Part road trip, part serial killer film and part twisted romance, the film somehow manages to successfully mix brutal murders with quirky and endearing comedy.

Sightseers stars Alice Low and Steve Oram (who also wrote the script) as two oddball Brits, Tina and Chris who head off on what at first appears to be a superbly nerdy caravanning tour of England’s least interesting attractions (believe it or not there are pencil museums).

Chris initially seems to be a strange simpleton with a chip on his shoulder who hates educated anorak-wearing types.  Soon, though, he reveals himself to be a psychotic serial killer who’s prepared to brutally dispatch anyone he thinks is looking down at him, which is everyone.  Oddly un-phased by his bloodthirsty behaviour, Tina soon starts to share in the murderous mayhem.

While this film is violent and has a few extremely grotesque scenes, it’s most memorable for Oram and Low’s dead-pan comic performances. The weird logic that guides their behaviour is reminiscent of Napoleon Dynamite but with a dark undercurrent.

Low is particularly hilarious as the strange dog-obsessed Tina who could have come from one of those hoarder/ embarrassing body type shows on Gem. Her bizarre banter with her hateful Mother (Eileen Davies) is an absolute riot.

This may be a low budget comedy but it’s often visually stunning as director Ben Wheatley makes fine use of the atmospheric English midlands.

The film is, however, not without its drawbacks.  Although the comical tone of the film never suggests that it will provide profound insights into their characters it might have given the film more depth if we had some idea why Tina and Chris become killers.  Also, some audience members may find the violence too graphic for a comedy.

This is the second serial killer movie of recent times but this is a funnier and more perceptive film than Bobcat Goldthwaite’s similarly themed God Bless America.

 

Nick’s rating: Four stars.

Classification: MA 15+

Director(s): Ben Wheatley

Release date: 26th Dec 2012

Running time:  88 mins

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