Thursday 13 June 2013

Review: Sightseers

World of Blackout Catch-up Review

Sightseers Poster

Cert: 15 / 85 mins / Dir. Ben Wheatley

This one was a very low-key release, so it's no surprise that I didn't get to see it at the cinema. As you can probably tell from that there trailer, Sightseers is a very darkly comic tale of a disfunctional couple who go out on a camping holiday and end up on a killing-spree.

This is another of those films that 'won't be for everybody', but I really enjoyed it. For a film about spontaneous murder and bleak British tourist spots, I found the claustrophobia strangely comforting. It's a credit to Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and director Ben Wheatley that some of the most horrifying film characters in recent times never seem to come across as wholly unlikeable. The movie is neatly soundtracked, beautifully shot, and the effects work on the murder victims is rather spiffing, too. There's also a great recurring gag/red-herring with trigger-events which make the audience think "Oh- they're next…". At a lean hour-and-a-half it doesn't outstay its welcome, although personally I'd have liked things to have escalated even more before the denouement.

I was initially hesitant with it, as the dialogue sounds partly improvised*1, and comes over like a cross between Alan Bennett and The League of Gentlemen. Luckily, as the two leads also wrote the film, they've got a strong enough handle on the characters to make it work. Apart from anything else, with the story unfolding the way it does, 'realism' sort of takes a back seat.

Sightseers would make the good second half of a double-bill with The Liability. It's almost a disservice to call this Natural Born Killers vs Psychoville, but that's the best way I can describe it, and I mean it with all respect.

Best line:
"There might be blood on the paws of that dog, but it's smug complacency that killed Ian, I'll tell you that."

Is the trailer representative of the film?

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?

Buy, pay to rent, or wait until it's on for free?
If you think you'll probably like it, you will, so pay-to-rent.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
No. Which, under the circumstances, is a missed opportunity surely?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
Dark-humour can be very difficult to get right, largely because it's a more precise target than mainstream comedy. What's your favourite movie that had you chuckling while your friends watched on, stony-faced?

*1 I may be wrong, of course, but it seems to loose to be scripted at times. It's a pet-hate of mine, I'm afraid. Improvised film dialogue rarely works. That's why screenwriting is a thing.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a 'catch-up' review. I watched this film at home, not at the cinema. I saw the trailer for this at the cinema, and I would have seen the film there too, but they didn't/couldn't show it. So now iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster get to reap the rewards of my local's advance-advertising, and I'm sure they're delighted. Now you may say "oh come on, they can't show everything down there", and that would be a valid point if they didn't do things like running Taken 2 for six weeks. Was it that successful? No, I don't think so. Twilight? Batman? Les Mes? Sure, go for it; if they're pulling the punters in then keep making that money. But Taken 2? I ask you. Anyway, this is essentially a DVD review, but still of a new(ish) film. There. I'm glad that's sorted.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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