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Ben Wheatley amused and irritated, grossed out and astonished me last year with his “Kill List”. That was, to say the least, an unconventional bit of cinema. And he seems to be on track to remaining just that: odd and unconventional. “Sightseers” is following a couple of not too handsome, not too bright tourists on their way in a caravan through England’s not too spectacular sights. They are simple people, it seems, Chris a slightly off “author” of a book he has trouble describing (“like the process of finding myself while traveling”), Tina the rather simple-minded follower, who tries to adore him, show off her good sides, and finding the idea of a trip of sexual exploration totally cool.

Things go off-track, there are accidents, there are unpleasant encounters, and all of a sudden, we are in “Badlands” territory, with our traveling mates not really on the run, but on a continued path of wreaking havoc among those they encounter. While not the motives, but at least the background of Chris becomes clear, Tina’s efforts to prove herself become more determined, not entirely to the benefit of the other campers they meet or their dogs.

Without spoiling it, the film’s finale is a pleasure, turning the table in a way that may not be entirely unexpected, but that surprises at least in that it showed that a Clyde should never underestimate his Bonnie.

“Sightseers” is not thoroughly satisfying, as the characters are a bit too dull to provide real pleasure. As always, however, I am terribly grateful for a film that defies the streamlined narration of Hollywood cinema, turns the concept of who can and cannot be the hero of a film on its head and makes me like, or at least sympathise, with people who are utterly unlikable. I hope there’s more to come from the Wheatley cabinet of curiosities…

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/sightseers/

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