is the Charles Kuralt from Hell. He is
determined to show his new girlfriend the British roadside attractions he
adores, like the Keswick Pencil Museum—and woe unto those who despoil their
tourist experience. They will pay dearly
in Ben Wheatley’s macabre comedy Sightseers
opens this Friday in New York.
British call redheads like Chris “gingers.”
Think of him as a Ginger Baker, except slightly more stable. This road trip together will be an important
step for Tina’s efforts to break away from her mother’s domination. She is also mourning her recently deceased
little yappy dog. Chris wants everything
to be just right for her, so the loutish behavior of a fellow tram museum
visitor brings out the worst of him.
plays off his first murder as an innocent accident. However, Tina soon becomes an active
accomplice in his killing spree. Before
long, things are completely out of hand.
It all adds quite the new wrinkle to their relationship.
Sightseers could safely be
described as a dark comedy. If you are
totally fine with the desensitizing violence of Nicolás López’s Aftershock, but would prefer a more
cartoonish presentation, this film is in your power zone. Based on the comedy act developed by co-writer-co-leads
Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, Sightseers is
not shy about mining laughs from grisly terrain. In fact, the tone is much
lighter than Wheatley previous film, Kill List, despite the superior body count.
Nonetheless, the murderous everyday banality of Chris and Tina is in
keeping with the themes and vibe of his prior work.
Chris and Tina, Oram and Lowe offer an object lesson in comedy as psychological
therapy. Oram deftly plays off serial
killer archetypes while also showing a facility for physical comedy. Yet, it is Lowe who really taps into deep,
disturbing places. They are funny, but
you have to wonder about their childhoods.
Sightseers is Two for the Road remade with Misery’s
Annie Wilkes and a far less dapper Hannibal Lector. To their credit, Oram and Lowe keep
one-upping the madness, so it never feels like the same gruesome joke repeats
over and over again. Gleefully
misanthropic, Sightseers definitely
delivers the cult movie goods.
Recommended accordingly, it opens this Friday (5/10) in New York at the
Labels: Ben Wheatley, British Cinema, Serial killer movies