Friday, 10 May 2013

G. reat B. ritish H. oliday

With the US release of "Sightseers" today or something, what better time to publish this glowing assessment from resident cineaste Mary Ann Sputnik? (Apart from when they released the DVD, or maybe when the film actually came out over here last year anyway it's here):


You'll have to see the film to understand how great a still this is.

Dark and noisy and lying in wait, movies side naturally with monsters. Road Movies aren't about driving, they're about Sex and Death, Bonnie and Clyde, Badlands and Five Easy Pieces (or, back in my day, Thelma and Louise, True Romance and Wild at Heart) - they're fantasies about turning your back on everything you've ever been given or had to take, following a plus-one into the wilderness, and then trying to hump and kill your way out of feeling like a trespasser. Also of course, they're movies about America. You couldn't set these stories in Britain - good old, naff, uncomplaining Britain with its not-massive cars, gun control, pencil museums and shaming dearth of deserts and peyote. The very idea of a British Road Movie is inherently comic, surely, which may be one reason Sightseers is billed as a comedy (although there are some outstanding jokes). But blow me if Sightseers isn't also the very first Actual British Road Movie.


The only stuff of Ben Wheatley's I'd seen previously was The Wrong Door, so nothing had really prepared me for the intoxicating wilderness he helped to serve up here. Holy cow, can he film! Places and faces. And those faces! Alice Lowe's tiny beams and frowns, Steve Oram's mug like thunder. And those places! When the killing come, as promised, it doesn't sneer as the trailer suggests. These aren't the killings of If... They don't denote a conquest. And they're not a judgment, they're arbitrary as Nature, a psychedelic framing of the question "What are people actually for?" As Chris and Tina conclude, "murder is green". I was reminded oddly of Dredd - another lean, mean exercise in fantasy violence unbound by the yucky dictates of orange and teal. I was also reminded of Four Lions, less oddly. In the end, the rage so happily submitted to comes as a relief. I left on a high.


Forbidden Corner, Tupgill Park Estate, Coverham as recommended in
"More Bollocks to Alton Towers - Far From the Sodding Crowd"

So there you go. You can always post nice words on twitter of course, but really that just looks a bit too much like you're saying "Hey, wow, I know these people". And I do know Alice Lowe, and Richard David Glover who's in it too, and is also brilliant, and I'm surprised I didn't mention him actually. I know them, and I was excited when Alice first spoke about this film, excited because a friend was making a film and that's exciting. But that excitement was nothing to what I feel now that I've seen it.

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