Sightseers It’s amazing that this film reached as wide an audience as it did… it was no surprise that, upon playing out in the theatre I’d attended, half the viewers got up to leave progressively — as jokes were made and people were killed. It was easy to guess why as well; for one, having been spawned in the United Kingdom, it proved too much for the country’s more mild-mannered side, not to forget the large chunk of far-right Daily Mail readers who were simply and plainly accused of not being human. For the people that did sit all the way through, it turned out to be a bewildering and horrifying journey — hidden within a couple on a caravanning holiday; two northerners who like to express themselves in mysterious ways. They also like to write and knit in their spare time, though these passions were not really elaborated on.

It is hard to criticise the film for the qualities it seems to be lacking. Ben Wheatley’s “comedy” could have been better in many ways, it seems — but the filmmaker’s motives behind the film left me so swamped in mystery that it felt more appropriate not to let certain anti-climaxes get me down. It was all so inexplicably low-key that my natural reaction was to refrain from taking it seriously. While it started with what seemed likSightseerse a very clear direction ahead of it, it took a few unusual turns which culminated in a series of unusual outcomes. This is mainly visible in Tina’s peculiar transformation, as her shyness and emotional vulnerability leads to a ruthlessness that can’t even be traced in the most cold-blooded killers. Chris, who is presented as a psychopathic superhero, and whose murders are calculated and target-specific (predominantly the British upper classes) is forced to watch as his unorthodox methods influence his lover to an increasingly problematic extent.

This is a Bonnie & Clyde/Robin Hood/Texas Chainsaw Massacre kind of story – there is a twist in Wheatley’s film, but it never quite falls into place. In the 80-odd minutes running time there is plenty of character development. Both protagonists have the chance to express their human values; they are capable of loving, of crying, of displaying a moral understanding of the world around them – actually, Chris is presented as a morally-rich character by nature with a temper that is channelled towards those he deems to be doing wrong. The confusion lies in Tina, who spirals out of control, forgetting herself with no regard to the film’s general vibe up until that point. The final sequence, accompanied by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and “The Power of Love”, offers no relief. Instead, it leaves the viewer glaring at the screen, as the end credits role…

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Sightseers at IMDb
Sightseers at Wikipedia
Sightseers (awards won and nominated for) at IMDb