Film Review: Sightseers (2012)

SYNOPSIS:

After Chris learns his girlfriend Tina leads a sheltered life, he vows to take her on a road trip across the UK country side in an RV. Their vacation soon takes a dramatic twist as they see a monumental side of one another they hadn’t expected.

REVIEW:

Directed By: Ben Wheatley
Starring: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davies

Sightseers can be best described as a highly original dark comedy reminiscent of a Monty Python/Coronation Street/All Creatures Great and Small/David Lynch cocktail. The story moves remarkably slow at first. We’re rendered awestruck as to where this production could be going. Some necessary character development and exposition is provided to get a genuine feel for the characters Chris (Steve Oram) and Tina (Alice Lowe). The structuring around the relationship between the two protagonists is well worth the wait. Audiences are best advised to refrain from turning off the film within the first twenty minutes. This is where the action truly begins.

Chris’s pet peeves become a spectacle unto the audience to witness and experience an everyday average bloke come completely undone. His demeanor and nonchalance is endearing and luring for the viewer to embark upon a psychological roller coaster ride. We see a little of ourselves within Chris and the aftermath is at times hilarious and at times immensely disturbing.

The cinematography for Sightseers is breathtaking illustrating the UK country side. Director Ben Wheatley should most definitely take a bow. Many of the shots could easily double as an international tourism video.

The transformation within the character of Tina and the gradual escalation thereof is brilliant. The audience doesn’t see it coming and at first we’re fixated on her mousey, frumpy behaviour. As each bizarre episode unfolds after the next we’re positively riveted to what she’ll do next.

Dialogue exchanges are engaging. I can predict scores of movie aficionados quoting various lines from the film for years to come. Tina after looking at Chris’s digital camera archives,” This is not my vagina!” or Chris promptly proclaims, “He’s not a person, he’s a Daily Mail reader.” It’s the stuff that Benny Hill is crafted from and is utterly hilarious.

Something very eerie and chilling unfolds before the viewers’ eyes in the relationship between Chris and Tina. Despite their unspeakable, diabolical acts their love for one another is apparent making them no more or less human than you and I. It’s a psychological mind romp at its finest and the director does a magnificent job of exploiting it.

The final act is what genuinely makes the whole picture. We don’t see it coming yet the climax is every bit as creepy as one can possibly fathom.

Perhaps most noteworthy and admirable is the fact the script was co-written by co-stars Alice Lowe and Steve Oram. There’s also a terrific soundtrack to the film highlighting many British pop hits of yesteryear we’ve all come to know and love.

-Four out of five tombstones

Sightseers (2012)

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