Before you ask, no I am not related to the director of this film in any way, so do not expect any favouritism from this reviewer. Now we've got that out of the way, it has to be said that Wheatley has managed to follow up last years marvellous Kill List with an impressive take in a different arena. Not only has he produced one of the funniest comedies of the year but also an alternative one.
Sightseers focuses on a new couple's caravan holiday through the north of England. Tina (Lowe) manages to escape her dull and oppresive life with her mother for a romantic break away with her new boyfriend Chris (Oram) They tour all the hotspots such as Keswick Pencil Museum but soon enough the holiday takes a dark turn for the worst. Chris' inner madman reveals itself and the two become embroiled in a spiritual and sexual journey which also involves murder.
It's a film full of humour but Wheatley has given the film a dark and bloodthirsty edge throughout. The film gauges all sorts of reactions from it's audience from belly laughs and chuckles to wincing and simply disbelief at the brutality on show. There are many low key moments that are dialogue heavy, such as conversations about the inner workings of a caravan, rather than set peices but with writing this strong it works. It's these small touches that bring out the comedy in the pair of characters and help you connect with two twisted individuals. By the end you even sympathise with the two and start rooting for their cause, however disturbed it might be.
The two leads of the film are it's biggest strength, they are a very convincing screen couple, Tina in particular seem to relish escaping her boring life and for the first time is excited about the possibilities open to her. Her character develops enormously from start to end and is even endearing when on a killing spree. She starts her journey in a miserable home life with a revolting mother and seems so happy to be going through new experiences She may only be visiting a transport museum but it's more about the company she is travelling with that makes her happy rather than the locations.
Chris, on the other hand, is far more mysterious as a character and it takes a while to learn the dark truth about Chris. We soon see the pent up anger and rage hidden inside him and when he snaps, there's hell to pay. When Tina begins to share in Chris' passion it becomes a fantastic recipe for disaster and it's a great romp to watch the two whilst it lasts.
So it's a dark comedy that has the blackest of the black humour. It certainly won't appeal to all but how often do you get a well thought out comedy with some drama, complex characters, unpredictable turns and an undoubted British quality to it as well? It's refreshing from this reviewers eyes to see a comedy offer something different. The punchy runtime, good music choice and abrupt but still amusing ending are all worth adding. Wheatley has now shot up to be in a small group of directors whose work I will always seek out
EXTRAS ★★★ There are two excellent audio commentaries – one with stars Lowe, Oram and Glover, plus director Wheatley, and the other with Wheatley and cinematographer Laurie Rose; a behind-the-scenes featurette (36:00); outtakes (12:16); and the theatrical trailer (2:10).