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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Alice Lowe
Steve Oram.
Directors
Ben Wheatley.
Screenwriters
Alice Lowe
Steve Oram.
Running Time
88 minutes

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Sightseers
Caravan of carnage


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Plot
Tina (Lowe), eager to get away from her domineering mother, goes on a caravan holiday with Chris (Oram), who has recently become her boyfriend. As the couple tour the English countryside, visiting camping sites and museums, their relationship deepens and darkens. A rash of violent deaths breaks out along the route the lovers are travelling...


Review
Sightseers
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If you need a high-concept pitch for Ben Wheatley’s third film, it’s Mike Leigh’s Nuts In May crossbred with Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. Funny and horrible, it has that ghastly ring of truth which distinguishes Leigh’s sympathetic portraits of people you’d go out of your way to avoid, and yet finds room for video-nasty levels of carnage. Whereas Leigh lets conflicts and resentments simmer, exploding only in cutting insults or social gaffes, Wheatley lets the brakes off. Sightseers explores a contemporary Britain we can’t help but recognise, dotted with ridiculous ‘heritage’ spots like the Keswick Pencil Museum, and a mental landscape where priorities are seriously out of whack. “It’s no use,” whines sulky ginger sightseer Chris (Steve Oram) after the perhaps accidental, definitely bloody demise of a litter lout under the wheel of his caravan. “He’s ruined Crich Tramway Museum for me.”

Scripted by stars Alice Lowe and Oram, formerly you-know-the-face players with rafts of film and TV comedy credits (Lowe was one of the leads in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace), with additional material by editor Amy Jump, Sightseers is a showcase for both performers, who deliver awards-quality work as the oddest of odd couples. Escaping from a harridan mother who’ll never let her forget her responsibility for the absurd death of a much-loved dog, wallflower Tina at first seems a tagalong. However, as she realises how twisted her seemingly boring new boyfriend really is, she lets out her own wild side, whether in selecting sexy underwear to spice up the caravan-rocking nights with Chris or involving herself in incidents which inevitably pay off with someone who has crossed their path and annoyed them in some way winding up horribly dead. At first, there’s a sense that the corpses who litter the wet, green countryside are class enemies; then it becomes apparent that anyone might fall foul of one or other or both of these people and suffer the consequences, even people who commit the sin of being too much like them.

This makes for strange, sitcom clashes as Tina tries to match Chris’ exploits, though like all true anal-retentive sociopaths, he lives by a hard-to-explain code she finds it impossible to understand, let alone abide by. Bluntly, he’s mad because he wants always to be in control and she’s mad because she wants to embrace chaos. Whether or not a happy ending is possible, or desirable, is a question the film juggles deftly for much of its running time — and becomes all the more pressing when a rival for Chris’ attention comes along in the person of an equally boring, beardy fellow-traveller who has invented a bicycle-drawn ‘carapod’ that Tina thinks “looks like an alien’s coffin” but which tickles Chris’ fancy. Wheatley is confident enough to let the characters’ ‘issues’ emerge without the blunt instrument of backstory exposition — though, often, with any other blunt instrument that comes to hand. It’s incidentally, like Kill List, a British road movie which makes use of sinister, yet curiously appealing out-of-the-way locations and, of course, fully expresses the horrors of the British climate.


Verdict
A uniquely British blend of excruciating comedy of embarrassment and outright grue, not quite as disorientating in its mood shifts as Kill List but just as impressive a film. Whether it ruins Crich Tramway Museum for you or prompts you to recreate Chris and Tina’s pilgrimage to the Ribblehead Viaduct, Wheatley’s film serves as a black-comic state-of-the-nation address.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Sightseers
Empire Star Rating

It's obviously very well made but there is no emotional connection with the characters whatsoever. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by eclipsoverseer at 08:40, 24 January 2014 | Report This Post


No where.......

.........near as shit as Kill List but its still not very good. A few funny bits. I don't understand why this director is getting so much recognition. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by guysalisbury at 00:34, 07 January 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Hmm

L: guysalisbury I seem to be the only person on the planet who didn't like Kill List but I'll defo give this a go. Looks pretty funny. o, you're not alone. It was like an extended episode of Tales of the Unexpected. Pfff. That aside, 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. Ace. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 22:14, 13 June 2013 | Report This Post


NICE BUT DIM.....

Wasn’t a massive fan of Ben Wheatley’s Kill List. Not a massive fan of this film either – but it’s still worth a look. Some of the humour just isn't funny while other gags hit a bit too close to home for it to be truly hilarious - and it was difficult to sympathise with either of the two leads as they were both a bit too uninteresting to spend any length of time with. But maybe that's the whole point of the thing. When it comes - the gory stuff is all the more horrific be... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 17:12, 10 June 2013 | Report This Post


IT'S QUALITY

IGNORE THE OTHER BAD REVIEWS HERE, ITS PITCH BLACK FUNNY....STEVE ORAM THE STANDOUT.. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chrisdagnall at 13:04, 07 April 2013 | Report This Post


In what way is this funny?

To start with, the trailer for this film gave me the impression that it would be hilarious (I doubt whether any trailed scenes were in the film). Secondly, how is this film funny? Shaun of the Dead, that was funny. Sightseers was complete rubbish and not funny in the slighhtest. I feel let down and disappointed and think that it was completely misrepresented by the trailer. The film is the product of a twisted mind and, well...words fail me. It is dross and should have been given an 18 ra... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by timrichsmith at 14:09, 02 April 2013 | Report This Post


Sightseers- caravanning is murder!

Really good, pitch black writing and an outstanding performance from both Oram and Lowe. This film proudly shows off its Britishness whilst revelling in everyday miseries. It may not be as funny as expected and it's no Kill List but Sightseers is still entertaining and has a knockout finish. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JJB888 at 23:09, 29 March 2013 | Report This Post


RE:

Well I havn't seen Kill List and tbh it didn't appeal so having seen this by the same director maybe I will. Went yesterday eve to a fairly full theatre and just smirked and giggled the whole way through which I'm not sure I should have but couldn't help myself. Was certainly a bit bizarre in places and yet it certainly had my attention along with that bitter sweet fasination. There were a couple of scenes that were perhaps a little over the top and an uncomfortable silence fell on the ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Magenta at 17:39, 05 January 2013 | Report This Post


This film had a lot to live up to after Kill List and though I personally didn't find it as good, I still felt it was worthy of these good reviews. There were times when I felt the script was a little clunky and a few improbable situations took it away from a gritty black drama to a soapy flick, however it was clever, funny, well shot and stays with you for a while ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danfacey711 at 00:16, 31 December 2012 | Report This Post


Really?

I really thought this film was awful. Considering it's meant to be a comedy, I sat through the entire thing scowling at the screen wishing it would hurry up and end. The pacing is pretty bad (it constantly drags), the jokes just weren't funny, the characters were all completely unlikable... This really is the worst film I've seen this year. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by AC1993 at 15:09, 20 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Sightseers

L: Qwerty Norris L: demoncleaner **And that's probably why Brazil's..... SHITE! Don't get me wrong, sometimes that quixotic spill into unregulated creativity makes great things, and sometimes it make Brazil....which is SHITE!!!! h come on.... I'm tempted to go back and delete that comment as I'm pretty sure that in a sober state I nurture no strong feelings one way or the other about Brazil   Let' just say that after sitting through the film it in no way made me want to ... More

Posted by demoncleaner at 14:22, 06 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Sightseers

L: demoncleaner dow on the lung of Sightseers is Nuts in May. e know, there's creative accident here*, without prior knowledge or fore-thought... and we know that...but at the same time, fuck you, I want to talk about Nuts in May!) knew it, I just knew it. It's the Black Swan / Red Shoes scenario all over again. L: demoncleaner **And that's probably why Brazil's..... SHITE! Don't get me wrong, sometimes that quixotic spill into unregulated creativity makes great things, an... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 09:08, 06 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Sightseers

I thought it was at best pretty decent, at worst, I thought it was OK. Once again, the smug self-satisfied QFT audience seek to marr a perfectly good film with over-appreciative gut laughing at a film I would happily grin the whole way through. These beardy middle-class bastards have obviously hired a baby-sitter and gone to semi-significant lenghts to be out watching a film, and by God are they loathe to waste an opportunity to tell a room full of strangers that they are capable of getting a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by demoncleaner at 02:15, 06 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Sightseers

Saw this last night along with The Hunt - loved both but Sightseers is the standout....and, having slept on it...this gets 10 out of 10 and just edges out Shame as my film of the year...I honestly thought this was going to be Wheatley's 'A Life Less Ordinary' an admirable film but a disappointment in relation to its two predecessors.....turns out he's skipped straight to his 'Sunshine' and gone and made himself a masterpiece.... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChudMonkey at 10:14, 03 December 2012 | Report This Post


Yuk!!!

I don't know what was worse - the fact I didn't like this film or the fact that the cinema I saw it in had no heating and it was freezing, sitting in a cold cinema for nearly 2 hours watching two of the most unlikeable protagonists killing people that annoyed them. I wouldn't mind so much if I actually had some sympathy towards either of them - but I didn't! I felt nothing for them and I just wanted both to die an eve worse death than their victims. There's only so many poo jokes that make me la... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Nefruaten at 19:46, 02 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Hmm

L: Normal Control Kill List is one of the worst movies I've seen in the last few years. hen put simply, you need to watch more films. L: Normal Control Kim Newman liking something is a pretty useful barometer of what to avoid these days. Inversely, if he doesn't like something then it's probably the dog's bollocks, for example The Book of Eli. ronically, I thought the Book Of Eli was rubbish too. As for this, I thought it was terrific. Equally as unsettlin... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 21:29, 30 November 2012 | Report This Post


so excited for this... more than The Hobbit. The trailer was incredible ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hellsfoxes at 03:20, 28 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Hmm

L: guysalisbury I seem to be the only person on the planet who didn't like Kill List but I'll defo give this a go. Looks pretty funny. ill List is one of the worst movies I've seen in the last few years. Kim Newman liking something is a pretty useful barometer of what to avoid these days. Inversely, if he doesn't like something then it's probably the dog's bollocks, for example The Book of Eli. It's like turning an aerial upside down to get the best signal, or something. ... More

Posted by Normal Control at 01:16, 27 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Hmm

Glad it got a good review, deserves it. My review is here:   www.empireonline.com/forum/tm.asp?m=3524457p; ... More

Posted by MuckyMuckMan at 21:17, 12 November 2012 | Report This Post


Hmm

I seem to be the only person on the planet who didn't like Kill List but I'll defo give this a go. Looks pretty funny. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by guysalisbury at 11:07, 12 November 2012 | Report This Post



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