Film | LIFF: Sightseers

4/5 stars

A film about love, caravans, murder, and the Yorkshire Dales, Sightseers is the latest offering from Ben Wheatley, better known as the mind behind 2011’s acclaimed Kill List and the hit television show Ideal. Screened as part of LIFF26 and filmed on location in God’s own county, this black comedy should appeal in particular to anyone that’s ever experienced the bizarre local tourist attractions and accounted quaint locals whilst enjoying the best this side of the Pennines has to offer.

Our ‘sightseers’ are Chris (Steve Oram) and Tina (Alice Lowe) who set off on their first holiday together as a couple. Over the course of their week away, they encounter various irritating individuals, including an irate member of the National Trust, a bike-peddling eco-warrior and a smarmy writer with a dog called Banjo. The film plays host to a wonderful variety of exaggerated yet somehow familiar characters, and with Oram and Lowe responsible for the script, their performances as a twosome in the midst of their honeymoon period are spot-on.

It’s less Summer Holiday and more Natural Born Killers after a bottle of red wine and a couple of Kalms, a film about very British serial killers. There’s some beautiful scenery, blood-spattered as it may be by the end, and the film delivers in terms of laughs as well as shocks; the ending in particular is terrific. Also worth mentioning is the fantastic soundtrack, making the best use of classics like ‘Tainted Love’ and ‘Season of the Witch’. This film will probably divide critics, and might not be for the faint of heart, but fans of Wheatley’s past repertoire will not be disappointed. What’s more, if you come out of the cinema with a hankering for adventure, Keswick Pencil Museum is only about two and a half hours from Leeds.

Hannah Woodhead

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