A second chance for those who missed it in this year’s film festival –
This delightful British black comedy follows a desperately ordinary couple who go on a road trip and end up committing serial murder – but only of the very “worst” people, of course. Devised as being more Nuts in May than Natural Born Killers, the tone is kept so light that we don’t have to trouble ourselves with taking the moral high ground or discussing issues of folie à deux (such as afflicted other north-of-England serial killers like Hindley and Brady, half a century ago). No fear – Sightseers is all good wholesome fun, just for larks.
Director Ben Wheatley debuted with last year’s underground hit Kill List, which also involved a lot of death. This time he’s left the writing to the film’s stars, comedians Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, who play the least glamorous, most authentic couple you’ve possibly ever seen on screen.
Newly together, Chris and Tina take off on a week’s caravanning holiday around heritage sites in the English countryside, where they encounter obnoxious middle-class writers, obnoxious middle-class heritage boffins, obnoxious… hang on a minute. There’s perhaps some classist prejudice going on here – but in any event, Sightseers is written so that the audience merely nods its head approvingly rather than baulks as the body count rises.
Peppered with laugh-out-loud dialogue and absurdly hilarious physical comedy, plus superb support from Tina’s misanthropic mum back home, Sightseers is a glorious example of low-budget filmmaking done well, and a very encouraging tip of the hat to Britain’s future film industry. If it feels like it goes on a bit long, this minor quibble is completely exonerated by a splendid finale.