Admittedly I didn’t really know anything about this film going in. I was told that one of my hero’s, the amazing Edgar Wright executive produced it (which basically was the big selling point for me!) – but apart from that all I knew is that it was “bloody” and I assumed it was going to be a comedy. Well… It was definitely bloody – and it definitely had lots of funny moments. However, this is one really bizarre and screwed up film!
The film opens with Tina (played by Alice Lowe who incidentally also plays a “Tina” in one of my favourite movies of all time – Hot Fuzz) and her Mum in a very typical old English house. This is when you realise as an audience member – this film is going to have that very unique dark British humour (aka Black Books and another MIFF film from a few years back I really loved, Severance) that’s pretty much all character driven, and that there will be a lot of awkward moments and strange conversations in this film!
The general gist is… Tina has a new boyfriend called Chris (Steve Oram) – a cheery bloke with ginger hair and a “big bushy beard” (to quote Hot Fuzz, just because I can). Chris is absolutely hated by Tina’s older Mother, because like most parents who have only one child – she doesn’t want her little baby girl to leave the nest, especially when there’s no one else around to keep her company. But, even before Chris arrived though, it wasn’t a happy household. Tina basically acts as her Mother’s maid – as the loving Mother-daughter connection was severely damaged after Tina accidentally killed her Mum’s number one love in live, her little puppy. Her Mum’s still mourning – and really resents the fact that Chris is taking away her daughter at this really upsetting time. Given all this, Chris just wants to get Tina out of the house, on a journey through the English countryside in his beloved Abbey Oxford Caravan. Tina has led a very sheltered life – and there are things that Chris really wants her to see, such as the Crich Tramway Village, the Ribblehead Viaduct, the Keswick Pencil Museum and the stunning countryside in between.
The trip unlocks Tina’s sensuality and the couple enjoy lovemaking that really rocks the caravan. What starts off as quite a nice little off-beat romantic holiday together quickly turns a tad dark and nasty, when we discover that Chris has quite an anger management problem – and basically kills anyone that rubs him the wrong way. He has morals – and if someone is rude enough to litter, then that person must be dealt with.
And then as the film goes on, it gets stranger, and darker – as the body count slowly rises. They also pick up a really cute little dog on the way.
This film is quite entertaining, as the two lead characters are great – but it’s also really bizarre. I’ve read that people have compared it to Hot Fuzz – and although it does have elements of the same sort of off-beat British humour – the pace is absolutely opposite, and the comedy is a little bit more dark and creepy.
To be perfectly honest – I’m not sure what the point of this film is, or whether it even has a point. Sightseers is quite funny and well made, but it’s also a tad predictable, and the encounters between the two lead “antiheroes” and stereotypical sketch-comedy “posh” characters is just a bit “too easy”. That said, there are some seriously funny moments, some great “one liners”, and also some overly graphic violence happening in quite comic situations that you can’t help to laugh at. I mean, who doesn’t want to laugh at someone getting their head smashed in with a giant bashing stick?
The film is essentially a low-budget road-movie, and it has some fantastic “real life” locations. The cinematographer Laurie Rose, has mainly done lots of TV work – but despite this, the film certainly has a great cinematic look. The pictures look great, and the production design is really simple, but consistent and sticks in with the style of the film.
I haven’t seen any of Ben Wheatley’s (the director) other work – but I definitely want to check it out. Although this isn’t a masterpiece of a film – it was still enjoyable, and it would be really intriguing to see what other work he’s done in the past.
This isn’t even close to being on the same playing field as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz – but if you’re into Edgar Wright-esk comedy, then you will probably quite enjoy this film. It’s quirky, it’s weird, it’s pretty sick at times, but it does have a really cute dog.