7 out of 10
Release Date: 30th November 2012
Cast: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davies, Richard Glover, Jonathan Aris, Monica Dolan, Tony Way, Rachel Austin, Aymen Hamdouchi and Richard Lumsden
Writer: Amy Jump, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram
The UK’s most exciting filmmaker, Ben Wheatley drops his third feature film on the public. It’s taken a while for the nation at large to cotton on to his movies. His first film Down Terrace came and went without making much of an impression on anyone beyond a group of critics. Lucky filmgoers who caught Kill List would’ve gone back to find Down Terrace. That’s likelier to happen on a larger scale after even more people have been drawn to Sightseers. It is a pity though that Wheatley’s largest film is also his weakest. But a weak-er Ben Wheatley film is nowhere near a bad film! Sightseers is just way slighter than his previous two. It’s also the first film that he hasn’t written with his partner Amy Jump. Lead actors, Alice Lowe (THIS IS JINSY) and Steve Oram share the writing credit. It’s this factor that makes Sightseers an altogether different proposition.
Storywise both Down Terrace and Kill List took you on a bit of mystery tour. Sightseers sets out on a clearer mission. The plot can be summed up thus; “A deranged couple go on holiday and murder anyone who crosses them.” It’s essentially a violent Nuts In May but less funny. Alice Lowe (THIS IS JINSY) and Steve Oram are perfect as the twisted pair and the former’s acceptance of his penchant for killing is convincing within the confines of the film. Some of the events come across as an exercise in wish fulfilment. The end of a litter bug had several audience members clapping their hands. It’s very much a reflection of our times that we are applauding mass murderers. But that’s what this film’s for. As I said the plot is thin and there is absolutely no mystery or twists in the story that you won’t see coming. A string of vaguely famous actors wander in but don’t get to wander back out. The murders themselves are mainly played for laughs and a quick and brutal. Steve Oram is a revelation as the almost laid-back killer Chris. Tina is a great character barely hanging onto her sanity. It’s no wonder she hooked up with Chris (at Capoeira classes no less). Alice Lowe is perfectly cast, I’m not familiar with either her or Steve Oram. It’s a slight shame that the wrong Ben Wheatley movies garnered all the hype because it’s not as good as the first two. It’s still very funny, very timely and very well made. The ending is great too and destined to become a talking point over the next few years. Here’s hoping his fourth film is a return to the originality that made Ben Wheatley a name to watch.
7 out of 10 – Not quite the challenge I was hoping for. But I’d still prefer to watch this guy’s films compared to most other directors around today. Sightseers is slight but in equal measures it’s both shocking and funny. Great lead performances from Steve Oram and Alice Lowe and some wonderful locations give this a lick of originality. A change in writers hasn’t been of benefit this time but at least he’s learnt how to delegate. Megalomania can be lonely. Recommended as it’s a great British attempt at a Saturday night popcorn flick.
**SEE JOE PESCI’s even better review below… I think it fulfilled some fantasies he’s been harbouring – hahaha – SPOILERS**
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Alice Lowe: The Ghoul, Chubby Funny, Stoner Express, Prevenge, Burn Burn Burn, Aaaaaaaah!, Electricity, Locke (voice), The World’s End, This Is Jinsy (TV), Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place (TV)
- Steve Oram: We Can Be Heroes, The Man You’re Not, A Dark Song, Aaaaaaaah!, Captain Webb, The Canal, The Bad Education Movie, The Haunting of Radcliffe House, Paddington, Cuban Fury, The World’s End
- Eileen Davies: Meantime
- Richard Glover: The Bad Education Movie, A Field In England
- Jonathan Aris: Churchill, Star Wars – Rogue One, Race, The Martian, Humans (TV), Sherlock (TV)
- Monica Dolan: W1A (TV), The Falling, The Casual Vacancy (TV), Wolf Hall (TV), Pride (2014), Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa, Sightseers, The Arbor
- Tony Way: Mindhorn, Trespass Against Us, Identicals, High-Rise, Aaaaaaaah!, Convenience, The Riot Club, The Edge of Tomorrow, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2012), Down Terrace
- Aymen Hamdouchi: 6 Days, iBoy, War Machine, Unlocked, Anti-Social, We Are Monster, Snow In Paradise, Dying of the Light, My Brother The Devil, Green Zone
- Richard Lumsden: Darkest Hour, Downhill, Morris – A Life With Bells On, Sugar Rush (TV)