Everything about Sightseers is ingenious. Firstly, there’s the idea of a pair of mundane, typical Brummies enjoying an equally mundane caravan holiday whilst discovering pleasure in nonchalantly killing people who they find mildly annoying. The dynamic between Tina and Chris manages to feel realistic, humdrum but at the same time outrageous and disturbing, all played out in the most glorious deadpan fashion as their mindsets shift. The humour is warped but utterly relatable leaving you in stitches whist questioning your own sanity. It’s completely twisted and absolutely fantastic.
Written by its two stars; Steve Oram and Alice Lowe and directed by Ben Wheatley (director of the polarising Kill List), Sightseers will undoubtedly be equally as polarising with its audiences. Although it takes a good 20-30 minutes to get going, the humour is darker than black, wickedly hilarious. Oram and Lowe improvised in the production of the script and they are inspired both on and off the camera, bouncing off each others ordinary Brummie drawls to create their oddly sympathetic monsters. The film also has a terrific eye for visual comedy, really keeping an eye on the details to make the most out of its rainy locations and quintessentially English landmarks visited by the couple. The ending is inspired, finishing on a note of perverted brilliance which I didn’t see coming at all. Not many endings can feel so horrific, beautiful and hilarious all at the same time. It hits its notes perfectly.
You hear, see and feel every murder – the film doesn’t pull its punches but despite the fact Tina and Chris might be extraordinary characters committing vile atrocities, they are deeply human in so many ways, played brilliantly and realistically without going over the top by providing lavish back stories or psychological profiles. Through the quality of the performances you can still understand exactly where they’re coming from and that really is a stroke of genius. Whether or not we like to admit it, there is something innately human behind Sightseers‘s menace. Absurd, hilarious, horrifying and genuine – an absolute treat and certainly the best comedy and indeed one of the very best films this year.
Review by David Rank
Sightseers is out on 30th November in the UK. Certificate 15 (UK). Running time 88 mins.
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