Review: Sightseers


© Big Talk Pictures

With The Sightseers currently wowing the crowds at film festivals worldwide, ahead of its UK release on November 30th, we at The Velvet Onion are amongst the lucky few who have seen the film.

Earlier this month, we attended a sneak peek at Ben Wheatley‘s third feature, written by and starring Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, and featuring Richard Glover, Jonathan Aris, Eileen Davis, Monica Dolan, Richard Lumsden and Rachel Austin, and featuring cameo appearances by Tony WayTom Meeten and Antony Elvin.

Naturally, we feel it’s far too early to tell you in depth what we think of the picture, and the nuances of its plotting.  With some months to go before its release, Wheatley and the team at Big Talk Pictures are keeping up an air of mystery around the film, with only a brief preview clip emerging thanks to the demands of the Cannes Film Festival’s promotional push earlier this year.  Far be it from us to go against their wishes – part of the joy of this film is not quite knowing what’s coming next until it becomes inevitable.  You’ll just have to go and see it to find out!

What we can tell you, without spoilering whatsoever, is that we went into the film with some trepidation.  We’d loved Wheatley’s previous features, and obviously have great affection for the work of Lowe & Oram – but could the stakes be too high?  Could they have misfired spectacularly?

The good news is, in a nutshell, The Sightseers is one of the boldest, most inventive comedies you’ll see on screen this year, and probably all of next year as well.  At times bleak, at other times brutally grisly, the blackly comic humour that is struck right through the film like Blackpool rock wins out, and the end result is utterly hilarious.

© Big Talk Pictures

Steve and Alice, as nerdy caravanners Chris & Tina, are an absolute joy – lighting up the screen with their rocky romance, awkward reactions and psychopathic tendencies. Glover’s gentle turn as a fellow rambler, Martin, is subtly pitched and acts as a perfect springboard for the couple to react to. In fact, there’s not a single duff performance across the entire film, which looks beautiful, is scored to perfection, and ends at just the right time – with just the right ambiguity as to its outcome.

The time will come, nearer to its release, when we can sing its praises in more depth, but for now, let us just assure those of you attending the various preview screenings, you’re in for a treat.


About Paul Holmes

Editor of The Velvet Onion since 2010, I also work in arts marketing and digital content producing, writer for a few things, listen to a lot of vinyl and watch lots and lots of Doctor Who.

Posted on August 28, 2012, in Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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