If you like your comedy to be dark and upsetting yet a little heartfelt and very hilarious all at the same time, then your twisted mind has something for you that is now available on DVD. Ben Wheatley's "Sightseers" is hardly the most profound thing that this hot cinematic commodity from the UK has ever done, but it is easily the most fun.
With an incredibly simple set up, "Sightseers" introduces us to Chris and Tina (Steve Oram and Alice Lowe). Chris wants to show girlfriend Tina his world, while Tina just wants to get away from her overbearing mother for a little while. However events soon conspire against the couple and their dream caravan holiday takes a very wrong turn and morphs into a rampage across the countryside.
Written by our leads Steve Oram and Alice Lowe, "Sightseers" is probably the most understated satire that this critic has seen in a very long time. Downplaying his usual stylistic tendencies, director Ben Wheatley keeps it all darkly funny as the veil of stereotypical British politeness and entitlement is downright see through with a raging black heart of darkness just bubbling under the surface. He shoots the countryside as a character unto itself and as we watch these nebbish homicidal nerds tear through their surroundings with a delightfully vicious yet sweet sensibility, Wheatley truly shows his blooming talent quite simply because he stays out of the way as his actors simple own the material from top to bottom.
As our unlikely heroes and/or villains, these two truly go down that dark rabbit hole so subtly that it almost feels like it is an accident. It's amazing how the slight shifts in tone that happen periodically throughout the film feel so amazing understated that they easily creep up on you. That's what makes this such a charming, laugh out loud kind of film, in spite of the horrible murders that they are committing, because until the final act of the film, it almost feels like a vacationers daydream. The actors embrace the material full on, they did write it after all and it makes for a self aware absurdist trip that you may never want to end because while the characters are somewhat underdeveloped, they're supposed to be and we just have a window into this homicidal slice of life.
Special features on the DVD include behind the scenes interviews and the theatrical trailer.
Ultimately, a movie like "Sightseers" only works as well it as it does when the everyone involved not only embraces it's natural weirdness, but also its middle class rage making for the most inappropriate yet hilarious cinematic experience of the year. Wheatley deserves all the credit for making it feel like he just stayed out of the way, since the words on the page do more than enough on their own.
4 out of 5 stars.