Sightseers (15)

Directed by Ben Wheatley
Screening at FACT from November 30th 2012
Starring: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Richard Glover, Eileen Davies

Reviewed by Joe Coventry

Psychos' Path

What can be more ordinary than a touring caravan holiday to some of the country's top visitor attractions? Or, a daughter's chance to escape a humdrum Midlands existence and her mother's distrusting prying eye, for a week away with her new partner?

As this edgy, black comedy unfolds so does the worst in human nature and behaviour. Random incidents provide the catalyst for a series of devastating outcomes as the couple's inability to cope with minor peccadillos precipitates an orgy of unforgiving desecration. The action gets darker by the moment and those watching become less sure of how to respond to what is being presented to them. The gloriously shot locations of 'This England' become increasingly tainted by the misdemeanours carried out as the trip proceeds.

Before they even hit the road bad news is signalled by Tina's (Lowe) pet dog being impaled on carelessly discarded knitting needles, which does not bode well. Chris's (Oram) first stop is Crich Tram Museum and he has a fit of pique when a litterbug does not respond to his reasonable request to 'pick it up'. The wrongdoer ends up under the wheels of the reversing caravan and the die is cast.

What is quintessentially British about the characters they meet as the tour progresses, is that there is a bit of them in all of us – which makes for the nervous twitching and sniggering during scenes at which they should not laugh out loud. There also needs some suspension of belief in how certain destinations have been reached; travelling cognoscenti will spot the more audacious visual gaffs but they do not detract from the screenplay.

The days pass and indiscriminate retribution continues to be meted out by Steve, as he is egged on by Tina, who has upped her own standards in how to deal with annoying situations. The Lakeland scene involving 'home on wheels' designer Martin (Glover) is brilliantly hilarious. By now she is suffering from occasional indifference, or even rejection, in her role as Muse to Chris's naff diary compilation of events. The climatic Ribblehead Viaduct ending approaches.

On there path to perdition renowned museums, heritage sights, Daily Mail readers, the National Trust and some 'shamans' from Portsmouth, will all rue the day that these two were let loose. The mayhem may not have been funny ha-ha but Wheatley (Kill List) continues his fascination with the genre and it's well worth seeing.

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