Looking Back: Sightseers (2013)

To celebrate the release of Free Fire, we’re taking a look back at one of Alice Lowe’s break out cinematic roles in Sightseers.

It was my mother who phoned me up to suggest this movie. My mother. Or “Mrs Poppers Penguin’s” as I like to call her. That should be a hint at the kind of movies my mother enjoys watching. So when she phoned me up, giddy, after watching the trailer and in between fits of laughter told me “you have to watch this movie, it’s about this couple who go on a holiday and start killing people,” I was intrigued. My own mother had piqued my interest in this black comedy British killing spree caper and I have to say that I have never been so proud to be her daughter. Because she was absolutely right. I fucking loved it.

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Sightseers, written by and starring Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, is about a couple who go on a holiday and start killing people. Ok, so that may be the absolutely basic gist of the movie. Sightseers is about a new couple, Chris and Tina, who embark on an around the country caravan trip seeing all the fabulous sights such as the Pencil Museum.  After “accidentally” running over an annoying tourist at the transport museum, their trip takes a rocky start. And it’s soon teeters over the edge when Tina discovers Chris’ murderous side. But why let a few killings ruin a perfectly good holiday?

This off-beat and particularly dark comedy is written so well by our lead actors that you can’t help enjoy the hilarity when it comes. Tina and Chris are people on the edge of society. Middle aged, jobless, and put down by many, the couple are the kind of people you’d make fun of or overlook. Oram and Lowe had met seven years and spent that time developing the movie. This is clear because there is an intense chemistry between the two extremely developed characters with murky pasts and murkier intentions. Lowe and Oram have created two off kilter leads that are completely realistic, if not, just a murderous.

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But what is more compelling about Sightseers isn’t the sly humour and embarrassing moments, it is that the movie is sliced with these stark and cold deaths. They stick out as brutal as they are meant to be. That is part of the brilliance of Wheatly’s direction. Admitting himself that you are not supposed to enjoy these killings, Wheatly makes them as bleak as possible causing you to squirm. He wants to make you feel responsible and you do because the realistic gore isn’t to be lapped up, it’s supposed to condemn our own judgement of characters such as Tina and Chris.

Sightseers may seem funny and witty, but there are layers of brooding malice underneath. It is a fantastic exploration onto the twisted psyche of people you wouldn’t even consider being killers before. It’s a judgement and it is a warning, an adventure into the darker side of humanity. Sightseers is a marvellous attraction with a realistic and malice vein.

Free Fire is out now! 

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