Movie Review: “Sightseers”

2half-star

Just a little holiday, a traipse through the Yorkshire countryside stopping at caverns, ruins and the odd museum — the odder the better.
Feel free to pop in on Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram). But “If the caravan’s rocking, don’t come a knocking.” After all, nothing stirs up an “erotic odyssey” like a trek through the woods, a visit to a souvenir shop — and the occasional homicide.
“Sightseers” is a darker-than-dark British comedy about a killing spree. Two annoying, impulsive and judgmental thirtysomethings set off for a week’s trip where Tina can escape her elderly mum (Eileen Davies) who has never forgiven her for the death of their Jack Russell terrier.
“It was an accident, Mum.”
“So were you.”
Chris is the first man in a while to take an interest in Tina, and she’s willing to overlook his temper, his insistence on “schedule” and everything she doesn’t know about him. A little blood on his hands, a confrontation over cleaning up after your dog that ends violently?
“You can’t do things like that. You’re going to ruin the holiday!”
Lowe and Oram have a gift for deadpan — especially in scenes after somebody dies.
“He’s not a person. He’s a Daily Mail reader.”
Tina is maddening to be around, repeating names/words over and over again to get someone’s attention, mother, lover or dog. “Mum, mum, mum, mum…” The world is used to ignoring her and she’s used to being ignored.
And Oram nicely packages resentment, hidden rage and offhanded cunning into one brutally unlikable bloke. You never know what’s going to set the would-be writer Chris off — littering, an insult, simply coveting something somebody else has like a career or a camera.
It’s more disquieting than funny and the filmmakers’ (Lowe co-wrote it) insistence on neither judging this couple nor making the victims “deserving” in the traditional dark comedy sense gives “Sightseers” — lovely scenery, by the way — a sour aftertaste, even if you’ve laughed at the lines and the daft, unfeeling cretins who’ve delivered them.

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MPAA Rating: unrated, with graphic violence, sex, profanity, marijuana use.
Cast: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davies
Credits: Directed by Ben Wheatley, written by Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Amy Jump. An IFC release. Running time: 1:28

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