BEN WHEATLEY’S SIGHTSEERS — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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CAUTION: Only watch this film if you like your comedy JET BLACK. Dark comedies rarely get darker or meaner than Ben Wheatley’s misanthropic road-trip satire Sightseers. Sort of like the British version of Bobcat Goldthwait’s hysterical underrated gem God Bless America mixed with shades of Falling Down and Happiness, it’s a film that revels in its diseased nastiness, and one that has a distinct (if deranged) point of view concerning society and its various malfunctions. Lead actors and co-screenwriters Alice Lowe and Steve Oram are both terrifically vile and frequently hilarious, going totally for broke with their insane conceit, never looking back one, and matched every step of the way by a director who was totally in synch with their poisonous yet smart worldview. Wheatley is such a playful sadist and has such a great sense of visual space that he allows the film to open innocuously, only to then pepper the proceedings with one transgressive moment after the next. The unassuming yet stylish cinematography from Laurie Rose also plays with expectations, favoring day light for all of the big, nasty moments of violence, and placing an emphasis on camera placement and off the cuff shot selections. The toxically hilarious and ironic final moments are absolutely unforgettable. Wheatley’s wife, Amy Jump, was an additional contributor to the script, while Edgar Wright served as one of the producers. Sightseers screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival as part of the Director’s Fortnight section, and is really a movie only for those who enjoy the bitter and unrelentingly sour taste of cruel.

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