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Laugh Gala

Sightseers

The latest from Kill List director Ben Wheatley serves bloodshed and belly laughs in equal measure.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.


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  • Director Ben Wheatley
  • Producer Nira Park, Claire Jones, Andy Starke
  • Screenwriter Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, with additional material by Amy Jump
  • With Alice Lowe, Steve Oram
  • UK 2012
  • 88 mins
  • UK distribution STUDIOCANAL

Following on from Down Terrace and Kill List, Ben Wheatley continues to prove himself one of British cinema’s most distinctive and unpredictable voices with this riotous story of Tina and Chris, the Midlands’ answer to Bonnie and Clyde. Keen to share his love for Brit tourist hotspots with his new girlfriend, Chris whisks Tina away on a romantic caravaning holiday. But when Chris casually murders a litterbug at the Crich Tramway Village, his intolerance for mild antisocial behaviour becomes dangerously apparent. Initially confused, Tina quickly opts to stand by her man, joining him on a murder spree, offing anyone who threatens to sully their humble utopia. Clearly revelling in the idiosyncratic charms of his anti-heroes, Wheatley eschews the near unbearable tension he displayed in Kill List in favour of a pleasantly light-hearted approach. Serving bloodshed and belly laughs in equal measure, Sightseers is an horrifically charming treat, with a surprising sweetness shining through at its heart.
Michael Blyth

We sent ourselves borderline insane by watching, reading and absorbing everything about serial killers. I like to think of myself a bit like a police psychologist such as Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls, nearly driven to the edge by the burden of too much knowledge. This is possibly an exaggeration, but it is quite weird reading a book about Dennis Nilsen on the tube. We also went on two research trips around the UK, in character, with a cameraman filming the whole thing. That nearly sent us nuts as well. On one of them, Steve and I actually shared a caravan for the whole trip. This really cemented our interaction as a fictional ‘couple’ as I now know exactly how annoying he can be. [...] I think you could take out the murders and the film would still make sense. The story is really about a couple going on holiday, fighting, nearly splitting up, then getting back together. This is a universal story and was the story that their characters were destined to fulfil. All the people they meet on the way are almost fairytale-like ‘trials’ for their relationship. And the ways they dispense with them are metaphors for how they deal with the outside world and its challenges. [...] In some ways the film is a fantasy about what it would be like to have no moral boundaries. And in this way, I guess it’s time off from feeling guilty about how much you can despise annoying people that you meet sometimes. Chris and Tina give the audience the passport to that. I like to think there is an interesting tension in Sightseers where you laugh, but you do feel something. For me it’s a tragicomedy, because there are huge things at stake for all the characters. I don’t think anyone gets off scot-free or pops up unscathed at the end.
Alice Lowe (co-screenwriter & co-star)

Director biography

Born in Billericay in 1972, he initially became known as a writer and then director in comedy series TV (he helmed fourteen episodes of the Johnny Vegas spliff-com Ideal, and co-directed Steve Coogan: The Inside Story in 2009). He made his feature debut with Down Terrace, which won numerous awards, including Best Feature at each of Fantastic Fest, Raindance and Boston, while his second feature Kill List was released in 2011 to critical acclaim and won the Empire Award for Best Horror Film. Sightseers premiered in Cannes earlier this year, where Smurf won the Palm Dog and The Times described it as ‘A cult hit waiting to happen’.

Filmography

2009 Down Terrace
2011 Kill List
2012 Sightseers; The ABCs of Death [one ep only]


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