Ben Wheatley’s absurdist Sightseers plays out like a trainspotters' Badlands. There's great wit at play as we follow simmering sociopath Chris and the childlike Tina (Steve Oram and Alice Lowe, who also take writing credits) through their murderous caravan trip around the Midlands’ cultural hotspots, which makes the harsh justice the pair mete out to assorted louts and toffs along the way all the more effective.
Wheatley, Oram and Lowe have constructed an affectionate ode to the British heritage holiday and the inherent quirks of its various attractions, but also sharp social satire. Chris’s disenchantment and disenfranchisement is smartly drawn, as is the repressed Tina, whose confused romantic and sexual awakening is equally riotous and heartbreaking. Gorgeously shot in sumptuous surroundings, with a neat, Carpenter-inflected score and winning, low-key performances, Sightseers delivers tar-black comedy and a good deal of gruesomeness in spades. There’s even a cute wee dog thrown-in to help sweeten the slaughter. [Chris Fyvie]