By: Liam Hoofe (Two Beers) –
A caravanning holiday around the north of England hardly sounds like anything worth getting excited over, in fact its quite the opposite. Anyone whose ever visited the North of England will know that a lot of it is grey, overcast and incredibly mundane, but Ben Wheatley’s SightSeers takes this and turns it into one of the year’s finest British comedies.
Sightseers tells the story of mundane newlyweds Chris and Tina. Chris takes it upon himself to help Tina open up her mind; he does this by taking her away for a wild weekend in Yorkshire, a sexual odyssey which stops off at the Crich Tramway Museum and The Keswick Pencil Museum. Chris also seems himself as a bit of a writer and decides that Tina and this epic adventure can be the muse he has been searching for. Jack Kerouac he certainly isn’t, but what he does turn out to be is an efficient serial killer hell bent on ridding the world of litterers and Daily Mail readers.
Don’t read the Daily Mail!
Sightseers is a gloriously dark and twisted comedy, as the body count continues to pile up the movie descends deeper into the darkness of the character’s minds and what Wheatley needs praising for is the balance he seems to have struck between humour and shock. So often with black comedies you find an imbalance between the two, but here Wheatley successfully manages to make you laugh and gasp in equal measure. The movie is at times reminiscent of Wheatley’s previous work Kill List in that respect and its tone will no doubt unsettle a few people.
A brilliant soundtrack coupled with excellent cinematography make this is a visual and audio delight and the two leads are simply phenomenal. Steve Oram and Alice Lowe have a great on-screen chemistry and this is no doubt down to the fact they did co-write the movie.
Britain’s answer to Micky and Mallory
Whilst the movie does manage to remain darkly comic through out people may begin to tire as at times the movie does feel like one extended joke. Chris kills people, Tina acts shocked; Chris comforts her with a one liner and so on and so forth. Thankfully the movie run time is around 90 minutes so the film does manage to avoid growing stale, just about.
Translating the movie’s comedy to an American audience may well have its issues as well, though I feel there is enough relatable content in there to keep people on each side of the Atlantic laughing until the movie’s end.
A well-written and often very sinister comedy that will especially please anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of a caravanning holiday anywhere in England. With this, his third feature film, Ben Wheatley has continued to enhance his growing reputation as one of Britain’s best up and coming directors.
Take a Drink: every time Chris kills someone
Take a Drink: every time they visit a British town you’ve never heard of
Do a Shot: every time Tina’s Mom calls