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May 1, 2014

Sightseers (2012)
Director: Ben Wheatley
Actors: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Richard Lumsden

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Synopsis: Spinsterish thirty-something, Tina (Alice Lowe), leaves behind her possessive, hypochondriac mother for a caravanning holiday in Yorkshire with her new, unhinged beau, Chris (Steve Oram)….

Review: This slight, but tonally assured British ‘comedy’, is further proof of Ben Wheatley’s directorial talents, and his intriguing position as something of a darker version of the more populist Edgar Wright – sharing Wright’s interest in witty genre riffs, but injecting his own work with a much drier, more nihilistic edge.

It’s hard to really quibble with Sightseers, and its satiric, observational eye is spot-on, mining to laser-like effect a hitherto underdocumented milieu in British comedy cinema – Brummies, stunted adults coming out of the wing of neurotic parents, the caravanning fraternity, awful hen parties, and the strange British affection for dowdy institutions such as tram and pencil museums! In all honesty, the complexity of Sightseers’ narrative conceit is limited  – almost like a delectably witty, but fairly one-dimensional sketch-show – but that doesn’t deflect from the proficient control that Wheatley and his collaborators exact over the material. (May 2014)

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