Nearly a year after a botched job, a hitman takes a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for three killings. What starts off as an easy task soon unravels, sending the killer into the heart of darkness.
Amid the Civil War in 17th-century England, a group of deserters flee from battle through an overgrown field. Captured by an alchemist, the men are forced to help him search to find a hidden treasure that he believes is buried in the field.
Director Ben Wheatley's obsession with violent death continues in SIGHTSEERS, a would-be black comedy about a couple of sightseers touring northern England and discovering a macabre talent for murder along the way. What could have been an inventive spin on the likes of BADLANDS or BONNIE & CLYDE instead turns out to be a cringing and disappointing non-event.
The problem with this film is the script, which is extraordinarily dim. It mistakes crude humour and gross-out effects for genuine wit, and there's absolutely nothing there in-between the punchlines. The main characters are repulsive and unlikeable in the extreme and watching them constantly arguing makes this a depressing experience along the lines of EASTENDERS, and for that reason alone I haven't watched a British soap in many years.
The most annoying thing about this is the wasted potential of the project. Wheatley clearly has talent as director, because I can't fault his work behind the camera, but it's squandered on forgettable material. The characters in SIGHTSEERS should be vibrant and intense, likable despite their flaws, but they never are. Alice Lowe's Tina is, in particularly, a completely grotesque and near-unwatchable creation.
Worth watching for the beautiful scenery, then - I'm the kind of guy who loves the kind of holiday undertaken by the characters here - and a few amusing scenes spaced out here and there, but a lesser beast in contrast to Wheatley's DOWN TERRACE and KILL LIST.
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