Thursday 6 December 2012

Sightseers...The Perfect Date Movie?

'Sightseers' is the latest film from Brit director Ben Wheatley, who gained critical acclaim for his cult horror 'Kill List' in 2011. The premise for this follow-up is simple but genius; a slightly odd couple plan a caravan holiday across Britain but are constantly beset by annoying strangers... who they end up killing in a variety of gruesome ways. The potential pitfall with this film of course is that such a bizarre concept hinges on the likeability of these crazed murderous characters. Luckily, both of the lead performances are just incredible and what's even more amazing is that both stars actually wrote the film as well! Let's start with Chris.   

Played by Steve Oram, the male lead character of Chris starts off seemingly nice but becomes quickly unhinged once he spots a fellow sightseer throw away some rubbish. One violent 'accident' later and already we begin to see the cracks in Chris' amiable demeanour.

In many ways, Chris is a terrifying character but Oram brings a human quality to his performance which means that you strangely root for him, even when he's geekily describing a specific kind of tram or smashes someone in the back of a head with a rock. And that ain't easy! But as great as Chris is, I love his girlfriend even more. Here's Tina.
Alice Lowe is a revelation in 'Sightseers'. Previously known for her work in the 'Garth Marenghi' series, Lowe's character is a uniquely hilarious and yet slightly terrifying creation. Dominated by a mother with some serious attachment issues, Tina was just a dog care expert obsessed with knitting before Chris came into her life. I first thought Tina was basically nice but just slightly crazy. As the film goes on however, the body count rises and Tina's darker side begins to emerge, often to hilarious effect. Tina eventually comes across as genuinely mad and if I bumped into Lowe in the street, I know I would definitely freak the s**t out! And what about her obsession with a stolen dog called Bingo?
After losing her mother's dog Poppy to an unfortunate knitting accident, Tina becomes fixated on a similar-looking dog owned by a pretentious couple that the pair meet in a caravan park. Upon his capture, Bingo is renamed Poppy in homage to the dog that died under her watch. His presence brings light relief to some of 'Sightseers' more deranged moments. And in case you're wondering what I mean, let's just say that I wouldn't recommend having caravan sex from behind if there's a dog watching. Just saying.
 This is what 'Sightseers' does so well. For every disturbing or violently graphic scene included, there are also a string of lighter moments that make you awkwardly laugh out loud, whether you want to or not. One of my favourite scenes appears towards the end, when Tina visits the Keswick Pencil Museum to have some time away from Chris. After visiting the giftshop, she decides to write a letter to her lover using a giant £24 pencil slung over her shoulder. Despite her crying, the whole thing is just ridiculous and sums up the feel of the film perfectly. Except for all the death and crotchless knickers of course.      
Have you ever seen anything less appealing? 
The joy of watching 'Sightseers' is in discovering the strange little quirks of the characters for yourself so I'm reluctant to say too much more about the film, except that it's a must-see if you're in a troubled relationship, as your problems will instantly fade in comparison to Tina's and Chris's. 'Sightseers' is an eccentric and uniquely British masterpiece that confirms both Ben Wheatley and its stars as ones to watch and I can guarantee that you won't see another film quite like it this year. Here's the trailer if you don't believe me!
And of course I've got to get me one of those giant pencils. Hello Keswick!

What's your funniest moment in 'Sightseers'? And who was your favourite character? Would you build a bike/pod that you could sleep in or is it just too damn risky? Let me know what you think by commenting, liking and sharing below. And just remember; don't leave your knitting lying around where the dog can get to it!

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