Review: Sightseers

02 Apr

DVD Review

Sightseers DVD 001This is a low-budget independent British film that I had heard about last year when Mark Kermode reviewed it so I was glad to see it finally came out on DVD. It is a dark comedic tale of jealousy, murder and caravanning.

Chris (Steve Oram) is taking Tina (Alice Lowe) on a caravanning holiday around the English Peak District and Yorkshire Dales to visit various tourist attractions. The only thing stopping them from enjoying their holiday are different people they come across but they find a bit of murder helps to restore their peace. Their first problem is Tina’s mother Carol (Eileen Davies) who hates Chris and doesn’t want Tina to go with him trying to use emotional blackmail over her upset at the recent death of her dog Poppy to try to guilt Tina into staying.

The first stop on their trip is the National Tramway Museum in Crich. While they are enjoying a tram ride on one of the elegant old trams Chris sees another visitor (Tony Way) wolfing down an ice cream and casually tossing the wrapper on the floor of the tram. Chris politely tells the man that he’s dropped his wrapper and the man just gives him the finger. This leaves Chris raging at the man’s callous disrespect of the museum but they don’t create a scene. After they have had cup of tea they leave but Chris doesn’t see the same man walking behind the caravan stuffing his face again. Chris runs the man over killing him. Everyone is very upset especially the man’s family but a sly grin plays over Chris’s face making me wonder how much of an accident it was.

Before the accident Tina got a phone call from her mother who had made up some emergency to make her come home but after the accident that is forgotten. It does seem to have made them very horny and they pull into lay-by and have sex in the caravan while a crew of road workers watch in amusement as the caravan rocks about.

The next stop is a caravan site next to somewhere called Dingley Dell. There are only two berths left and Chris races another caravan to get the one that’s not next to the toilets. The blood from the accident is still on the side of the van so they clean it up. Later Chris goes to talk to guy he raced to the berth and tries to talk to him about his caravan but you can tell that Ian (Jonathan Aris) and his wife Janice (Monica Dolan) feel awkward talking to Ian. Tina comes over to join them and Ian tells that he’s a writer travelling and doing research for a book. Chris wants to take a look inside and Tina spots that they have a dog the same breed as Poppy but he’s called Bruno. She tries to give him a potato crisp but Janice panics and screams that he’s not to get junk food. That upsets Tina so out of spite Chris knock plate off a counter and it smashes on the floor.

This incident puts Chris in a funny mood. He’s jealous of Ian and angry at his attitude. At dawn he gets up quietly and sneaks out then he follows Ian as he takes his dog for walk. Ian is standing on a rocky outcrop at the top of a hill taking pictures with his expensive camera and Chris comes up behind him and smashes his head in with a rock, killing him.

Chris returns to the caravan where Tina is awake and is watching a pagan festival taking place across the field. He’s got Ian’s camera now but all Tina notices is the blood on his hands. Chris explains it away by saying that the pagans were sacrificing chickens when he passed them. Tina accepts this since she’s not very observant. She also doesn’t question Chris when he says that he wants to pack up and move on. On the way out of the site they find Bruno running around loose and Tina wants to keep him because not getting junk food is cruel so they take him into the car.

Tina does eventually catch on that Chris murdered Ian but she’s not that worried about it and after seeing Chris beat a posh rambler (Richard Lumsden) to death at a stone circle she gets excited about the idea of being outlaw lovers on the run and she tries her hand at murder too.

This film is a dark comedy with a pair of completely unexpected killers. Tina is a naïve and awkward and dominated by life with her mother. Chris is a quiet guy that has seen more pushy less pleasant people getting on better than him and he feels angry and marginalised. They are so much more normal than the usual killers in films and a lot of the comedy is seeing the disproportionate violence that they inflict. The landscape that they travel through is a fantastic combination of nature and human creation and is really well shot. Comedy is very subjective and this comedy is more the sort to elicit a wry smile than the laugh out loud type with a joke every ten minutes.

Rating 7.5/10

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Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Entertainment, Film


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