The new British black comedy, Sightseers sees director Ben Wheatley step in a slightly new direction from his two previous efforts, Down Terrace and Kill List. Both of which are excellent pieces of dark, gritty storytelling in a social realist setting that is quintessentially British. Sightseers sees odd couple Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) as they head on their first ever holiday together. For Tina its a much needed escape from her overbearing, and quite hilarious, mother. It doesn’t take long before their trip takes a turn for the worst as Chris accidentally runs over a bloke with his caravan. As they go on they both begin to get a taste for killing and their thirst is realised in a series of brutal yet darkly comic murders of fellow caravaners and holiday makers.
There is still much of Wheatley’s social realistic style to be found here, but it is twisted just far enough to become parody without being too over-the-top. There is something so British about everything the couple do – a personal favourite moment involves Chris trying to wipe bloodstains off the roadside with Cif and kitchen towels. And it’s this realism that gives Sightseers it’s real humour. The fact that is so close to home. There are moments when many would stop laughing for it has just gotten to dark for it to even be funny, the end, in particular, done in a different way could be haunting. But I feel it’s done in such a way that is absolutely hilarious. There’s some fantastic dialogue an the two main performers, who also wrote the screenplay, couldn’t be more perfect for their roles.
Sightseers is not one to take the grandparents to but it certainly is one to show the mates and give you a laugh, I would be happy to re-watch it already I enjoyed it so much. Wheatley has continued his flawless filmography with a much-needed unique comedy, it’s true what they this is the best British comedy since Four Lions and could well be my favourite film of the year.
Keep your eyes peeled this week for a review of the FIFA 13 and I’ll leave with a youtube of the entire new Death Grips album which you may have heard about online as it’s recently been the subject of a lot controversy, my review will also be on here some time this week, enjoy
So this week I decided to watch Down Terrace, a gritty British drama directed by Ben Wheatley. Wheatley was the director of, the sublime, Kill List which came out last year and instantly became a favourite of mine so I was drawn to watch some more of his work. Down Terrace is set within Brighton and follows a family, who don’t appear to have been given a surname, that are in some way involved in some really dodgy business, my guess was that they’re in the drug trade but nothing was ever confirmed in the script. As the film goes on the family learn that someone has tipped off the police about their business and they start killing anyone who knows anything building up to a furious showdown at the end with a very big twist.
The film is incredibly effective, there are many similarities to the aforementioned Kill List, but there are also differences that set the two apart. For example, Down Terrace’s moment of extreme violence are a lot more sparse than those in Kill List and for this particular film it adds even more of a sense of mystery surrounding its main characters, these moments of violence are handled with expert skill in a film that, clearly doesn’t have the biggest of budgets. The actors all do a fantastic job, most of whom I didn’t recognise expect the Irish guy from Kill List, who plays Pringle, and the mother of the family Julia Deakin who I know well from Spaced, but the lack of known actors brings so much more to film’s integrity. It’s not especially uplifting stuff but it’s so well written and cleverly plotted giving you slices of information only when absolutely necessary and hinting at a huge back story that you’re left figuring out on your own. This makes the movie much more thought provoking and makes it seem so much more like real life. This is a much more realistic vision of life in a crime family, it feels like it really does capture a feeling that this could well be a true story.
I’ve now been blown away completely by both of Wheatley’s features as he seems to capture dark, gritty crime stories with flashes of hyper violence and does so with intricate skill. Roll on his third feature, due next year, A Field in England, this guy is definitely one to watch in future.