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Chris wants to show girlfriend Tina his world, but events soon conspire against the couple and their dream caravan holiday takes a very wrong turn.
For more about Sightseers and the Sightseers Blu-ray release, see Sightseers Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on April 11, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram
Starring: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davies, Jonathan Aris, Tony Way
» See full cast & crew
Sightseers Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, April 11, 2013
Screened in the Directors' Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival, Ben Wheatley "Sightseers" (2012) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of StudioCanal. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailers; making of featurette; outtakes; audio commentary with Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Richard Glover and Ben Wheatley; and a technical commentary with Ben Wheatley and cinematographer Laurie Rose. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Sightseers proves three things. First, trailers always contain spoilers, no matter how good they are. (I will say more about this later on). Second, Ben Wheatley is the boldest filmmaker to come out of Britain in a long time. Third, the Brits have a very, very different sense of humor.
The film follows Chris (Steve Oram, Kill List, TV's Heading Out) and Tina (Alice Lowe, TV's Ruddy Hell! It's Harry and Paul) as they embark on a romantic journey through the British countryside. Early on, they laugh and try to be kind to each other. Before their first stop, they also share some mints.
At the Crich Tramway Museum, however, the film abruptly changes direction - first it gets messy and then very dark. The lingo changes, too. After Chris and Tina leave the local police station and resume their journey, the film becomes flat-out bizarre.
In a long flashback we learn about Tina's dog, Poppy. The dog is long gone, but Tina still thinks about it. At their next stop, Chris and Tina meet another couple with a dog named Banjo that looks a lot like Poppy. They visit their caravan and things get messy again. Some of the best panoramic shots in the entire film, however, are right here.
At this point Chris and Tina's journey seems very similar to the one Mickey and Mallory embark on in Oliver Stone's film Natural Born Killers. The difference here is that that there are a few genuinely funny sequences, such as the one where Chris and Tina make love in their caravan while a group of strangers imagine what is happening in it. Some viewers may argue that there are more than a few funny sequences, but I disagree. I know exactly where I should have laughed, but I couldn't.
The film ends as I thought it would - thanks to the various trailers I had seen online. In fact, some of them were so revealing that after the film ended I actually felt cheated. You know why? Because just about everything that I thought was funny is in the trailers. Watching the entire film provided me only with extra doses of the bizarre and the beautiful.
Now I wonder if my reaction to the film would have been any different had I not seen the trailers. Part of me is convinced that I would have liked it a lot more. After all, the character transformations are quite remarkable. There is another part of me, however, which insists that I would have been just as underwhelmed as I am now. I wanted to enjoy this film, but I couldn't. I found it too disjointed, too repetitive, and too contrived. I also thought that it was simply unbearably bizarre.
I have a feeling, however, that a lot of people will love the film precisely for the reasons I could not embrace it. It is different and it is messy. It is very much a politically incorrect film as well, which seems to be a mandatory requirement for contemporary comedies.
Kudos to Wheatley for trying something very, very different after the terrific Kill List. While Sightseers did not work for me, I can see the idea behind it and appreciate his efforts. Technically, this is also an impeccably executed project. Cinematographer Laurie Rose, who also collaborated with Wheatley on his Kill List and Down Terrace, captures the casual beauty of the British countryside marvelously well.
Note: In 2012, Sightseers won Best Screenplay Award (Steve Oram, Alice Lowe , Amy Jump) at the British Independent Film Awards.
Sightseers Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Ben Wheatley's Sightseers arrives on Blu-racy courtesy of StudioCanal.
I could not spot any weaknesses. Shot with the Red One Camera, the film looks simply spectacular on Blu-ray. During close-ups and panoramic shots detail is fantastic, while clarity is of reference quality. Colors are warm and very natural. The daylight footage, and especially where natural light is in abundance, looks outstanding. There are no traces of problematic lab tinkering. Transfer-specific anomalies, such as banding and aliasing, also do not plague the high-definition transfer. Lastly, there are no stability issues to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Sightseers Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English LPCM 2.0. A Descriptive Audio LPCM 2.0 track is also included. For the record, StudioCanal have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The lossless 5.1 track is terrific. Despite the fact that Sightseers isn't a big budget action film, dynamic intensity is excellent. Clarity and crispness are also outstanding. Surround movement is limited, but such is the film's sound design. The dialog is exceptionally crisp, stable, and always easy to follow. Also, there are no audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review.
Sightseers Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Sightseers Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I tried to like Sightseers, but I could not bring myself to care about its protagonists. The violence and gore are also so over the top that after a while I completely lost interest in the film. In some films they are appropriate. In Sightseers they are not. Maybe some people find other people's awkwardness and misery funny, but I don't. If interested in seeing a good British black comedy, see Robert Hamer's Kind Hearts and Coronets. RENT IT.
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Sightseers Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Ben Wheatley's Sightseers Heads to Blu-ray (Updated) - February 19, 2013
StudioCanal will release on Blu-ray director Ben Wheatley's new film Sightseers (2012), starring Sara Stewart, Lucy Russell and Alice Lowe. The release will be available for purchase online and in stores across the United Kingdom on March 25th.
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