Sightseers (2012)
93 mins
Ben Wheatley
Andy Starke
British Film Institute
United Kingdom
Erotic odyssey…. Killing spree…. Caravanning holiday…. The trip taken by Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) in Sightseers is all these things and more. Brummie Tina is an introverted dog walker who lives with her suffocating mother in semi-detached misery. But things change when she meets charming joker Chris at a capoeira class. Soon Tina and Chris are waving goodbye to Mum and setting off for the camping trip of a lifetime where they’ll become the Bonnie and Clyde of the English countryside and Chris can unleash Tina’s hidden passions. Sat at the wheel of a Volvo estate furnished with dashboard gonks and ordnance survey maps, Chris looks every inch the harmless rambler. But beneath the goretex exterior, Chris is a man with one fierce desire: “I just want to be feared and respected. It’s not too much to ask from life, is it?” The first stop on Chris and Tina’s road trip is a seemingly sedate tram museum. During the tour, Chris sees another visitor carelessly drop his ice-cream wrapper on the floor of a vintage tram. Chris is left seething by the litterbug’s open contempt for his protestations and, as they prepare to leave the museum, reverses the caravan over the man and kills him. The horror of this apparent accident provokes an emotional response in Tina and Chris and they can barely wait to tear each other’s clothes off and have sex in the caravan in a busy truck stop surrounded by curious lorry drivers. With adrenalin still running high, Chris throws caution to the wind and speeds past some fellow caravaners in pursuit of the best pitch on that night’s campsite, Dingley Dell. His satisfaction at getting the pitch soon dissipates when he notices his neighbours, a group of chicken sacrificing Shamans from Portsmouth. Chris is further riled when he and Tina meet Ian and Janice and he discovers that Ian is a published writer - something Chris aspires to but cannot accomplish. The murderous look returns to Chris’s eyes and he follows Ian the next morning to a remote bluff where he bludgeons him to death with a rock, stealing his camera and dog, Banjo, for good measure. Chris feels justified in the murders, assuring himself that it was “smug complacency that killed Ian”, but his new found swagger and confidence spells danger for whoever gets in his way. Tina uncovers Chris’s murder of Ian after first misreading the pictures on the stolen camera as evidence of an affair. Soon enough she gets to witness Chris commit another murder – a National Trust toff who takes issue with the couple over their dog fouling an historic site. The inscrutable Tina does not seem put off by her partner’s bloodlust, only intrigued: “I never thought about murdering an innocent person like that before.” Tina might not have considered murder in the past, but seeing Chris club a man to death brings something out in her and, in a fit of jealousy; she kills a woman from a rowdy hen party whom she suspects of trying to seduce Chris and also of mocking her. With both Tina and Chris now seemingly out of control and the relationship between the two steadily deteriorating, Tina commits yet another killing even more random than those before – running down a jogger on the side of the motorway. Chris is panicked by Tina’s recklessness and the frequency with which they are now wracking up deaths: “I’ve done more murders in three days with you than I did in the six months since I got made redundant!” he says. Having accidentally left their dog with Martin, an earth loving eco-traveller they met at a previous campsite, Chris and Tina arrange a meeting on a remote cliff top. Martin and Banjo arrive in his pedal-powered cara-pod (a one-man caravan on wheels) and Martin is subjected to a cringe-makingly awful evening with Tina and Chris before excusing himself for an early night. Following a vicious argument with Chris, Tina pushes Martin and his cara-pod over the side of the cliff towards a certain death. Chris is turned on by this, but also realises the fatal conclusion his relationship with Tina must reach. Chris and Tina, having agreed on a tragic-romantic suicide pact, stand atop a precipitous aqueduct and hold hands ready to jump......more