Sightseers

Oisín Murphy-Hall
Posted November 29, 2012 in Cinema Reviews, Film

BIMM may-june 22 – Desktop

Director: Ben Wheatley

Talent: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davies

Release Date: 30th November 2012

Chris and Tina are on a road holiday in the British midlands, over the course of which they murder several people. Chris (Steve Oram) is an prideful, indignant misfit—a sort of wrathful Partridge in North Face—and Tina (Alice Lowe) is a compassionate, submissive, maladjusted dog psychologist in her 30s whose life is dominated by her manipulative mother (Eileen Davies).

Sightseers follows the pair to banal tourist attractions, anonymous campsites and, once or twice, landscapes of startling beauty, as Chris’s murderous inclinations—directed almost frivolously at folk who violate his conceptions of decent behaviour—begin to rub off on Tina as the body count grows. Road films by their nature are of a liminal space, in between a point A and B. The purposefulness implicit in the form is lost in the murderous acts themselves, vividly and shockingly realised (this is the director of Kill List) but without a narrative function per se.

That the film ends not with a destination reached, but a more significant rupture, speaks to the quality and the imagination of its director’s and screenwriters’ vision. It also has a yurt joke: what more do you want?

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