Monday, May 13, 2013


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Director Ben Wheatley's latest comedy is a deep shade of black. ★★★1/2A sharply written, gruesome road-trip movie that makes all stoners-in-the-great-outdoors movies look like adolescent schlock (which probably don't require the understated Sightseers to appear as such), this is story about a frumpy, balding wanna-be writer Chris (Steve Oram) who brings his new girlfriend Tina (a meek, pliable Alice Lowe) on a trip through the English countryside.

Chris deals with Tina's overbearing, guilt-trip-inducing mother surprisingly well, considering she sends the two off by calling Chris a murderer. Tina is an impressionable woman in her 30's, obviously looking for some Freudian approval from Chris. She has an affinity for dogs, and has haunting flashbacks of the day she accidentally killed her a dog (something involving knitting needles), a day her mother holds over her head unrelentingly. But something off with both Chris and Tina. Chris sinks into a fury after witnessing an overweight man litter on a historic rail car--a man he accidentally runs over with his caravan. It isn't pretty, but the two move on to their next stop after a repercussion-less visit at the police station. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

The couple is in and out of sync, as inconsistently as the terrible things they do on their trip, exploitations they respond to with a glassy-eyed smile and signature indifference. Chris is looking for life experiences in places like pencil museums; Tina is an aspiring muse: "I'm musing!" she says. But the two, regardless of their intentions, are smiley sociopaths, largely ignoring their dirty deeds and revisiting their relationship in waves of anger that reveal their narcissism and foundation-less affection for each other.

Ben Wheatley lovingly explores the countryside with his camera, evoking a peace and tone that counters the unstable couple but adds layers onto its comedy. Sightseers is a true and fresh road-trip movie: you get to do some sightseeing yourself, while a leisurely paced story unfolds into a hilariously horrifying psychopathic trip. You'll laugh at the smartly written dialogue that highlights the ridiculousness of our sightseers with a fine balance of normalcy and mental malady; you'll cringe at their apathy and misplaced anger; and you'll most likely leave the film with a smile that rests in the corner of your mouth, thinking to yourself, "Well, that was pretty damn good." And slightly feeling guilt for it.

About the Author

Ian Tilman Nichols

Author & Editor

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  1. looking forward to this one. black comedy is my favorite.



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