Ben Wheatley’s breakthrough movie, Kill List, was a deserved hit with critics. Mostly. The ending however, had audiences and critics divided. I loved it by the way. Kill List was a difficult film to categorise. Was it a horror film, a hitman movie, a family drama, a supernatural thriller or something in between? I think I just answered my own question on that one.
With his follow up, Sightseers, there’s little doubt about his chosen genre. Alice Lowe and Steve Oram star as Tina and Chris respectively, setting out on a road trip through the British Isles in Chris’ beloved Abbey Oxford Caravan. Tina’s led a sheltered life up to now and her ‘ailing’ Mother isn’t making things easy for her, but Chris is determined to show her his world. He’ll probably start with the Crich Tramway Museum, before moving on to Ribblehead Viaduct, and then who knows, Keswick Pencil Museum perhaps…
Sightseers is a comedy. A laugh out loud British comedy that embraces the little things in life and takes them away again. Litterbugs, noisy teenagers, pompous upstarts and rowdy Hen nights get in the way of a blissful week away, so what’s a doting boyfriend to do? Sightseers is the latest film from the creative genius behind Kill List, so it’s fairly obvious what a man’s to do, isn’t it? Add a doting dog to the mix and you have three of the most engaging leads in recent years.
Fans of Down Terrace and Kill List will know what to expect from the set up - it’s very bleak, very rural and kind of depressing, but Wheatley litters the script with great dialogue that gets better and better the more the caravan swerves off course. Lowe and Oram make a fantastic couple in the worst sense of the word, because there’s no way in hell we should like them, but you can’t help rooting for the pair of them, even though you know deep down it’s going to end badly. Which brings us neatly to the ending.
Kill List may have divided audiences the world over but Sightseers wont. Wheatley’s latest ends on a delirious high note in more ways than one, and Sightseers is all the more rewarding for it. If you’re looking for a fresh twist on genre filmmaking you’ve come to the wrong place; Wheatley’s follow-up to Kill List is a terrific black comedy that further cements his reputation in British filmmaking. Great fun. Unless you’re a Daily Mail reader. Obviously. AW