Directed by Ben Wheatley
“If the caravan’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’!”
Kicking off this year’s Sundance experience from IFC, Big Talk Productions and StudioCanal is the comical Sightseers directed by Ben Wheatley (Kill List). This delightful tongue-in-cheek little romp is based on the screenplay written by lead actors Steve Oram and Alice Lowe. Three months into their newfound relationship, Chris (Steve Oram) decides to take his girlfriend, Tina (Alice Lowe), on a caravan holiday; however, things take a very wrong turn quickly, giving a whole new meaning to cross-country getaway.
The story begins at the home of Tina and her overly suspicious mother, Carol (Eileen Davies). Tina is packing up her necessities, which include potpourri and some crotchless panties that she crocheted herself. Chris at the same time is plotting their destinations using thumbtacks and string. This holiday is of course against her mother’s wishes, and Carol has no problem spewing forth some unpleasant words before Chris and Tina take off on what is to become a wild ride across the British countryside.
All seems to be going well as they reach their first destination at the Crich Tramway Museum until a man on the tram tour decides to toss his candy wrapper on the floor of the tram. Chris repeatedly asks the man to dispose of his rubbish properly but is merely given the finger. This is very unsettling to Chris, and on next sight he decides to simply run over the man with his caravan. Upon discovering that her boyfriend is a lunatic, Tina surprisingly decides to join in on the fun, and they continue on their killing spree at other tourist traps, including the Keswick Pencil Museum, Fountains Hall and Blue John Cavern, where everything begins to spiral out of control for the couple.
This may all seem too simple or even mundane, but Oram and Lowe are the perfect match for this love on the run story. It is fitting that they play their roles so naturally and normal that it is almost believable. Every laugh and every tear shed as they trek along on their trip is perfectly placed. The story flows like an unstoppable flood as it takes you through many beautiful sites across Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
Sightseers is arguably one of the best British comedies since Shaun of the Dead with undertones of Natural Born Killers thrown in (minus the acid-like trips). Perfectly scripted and beautifully directed, the film boasts some great talent to make the adventure lifelike and quite enjoyable to lovers of any genre of filmmaking. Having elements of romance, drama, comedy and some horror thrown in makes an impeccable design to be loved by all.
Sightseers, the black comedy that it is, should not be missed. If you have a chance to see it, take it as you will certainly not be disappointed; it’s a campy trip for the whole family.
4 1/2 out of 5