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Florida Film Fest review: SIGHTSEERS

April 6, 2013
By

Sightseers

★★

Something goes bad along the way in Sightseers, but you already know that if you’ve seen the British film’s trailer. However, I’m talking about not just the characters’ idyllic vacation-turned-disaster, but the movie itself, which morphs from cleverly quirky to deliciously dark to just plain mean-spirited and unfunny, all in only 90 minutes.

Feeling guilty over the accidental death of her dog and in desperate need of an escape from her clinging mother, Tina (Alice Lowe) sets out with her new boyfriend, Chris (Steve Oram), for a road tour of the Yorkshire countryside. But during a horrible accident, a screw is apparently knocked loose in their brains because they then proceed to rampage about the countryside in a misguided metaphor for selfishness, anarchy and the trappings of a civilized society.

If you don’t like that posh explanation, you can take director Ben Wheatley’s terrifying travelogue at face value: a dark comedy bordering on bloody farce. Whatever meaning you embrace, it’s difficult to escape the fact that, though well-acted and intriguing, this caravan of comedy has far too few laughs and runs out of gas about an hour in. It wants to be Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend but ends up more like Weekend at Bernie’s.

If you’d planned to watch Sightseers on Tuesday, April 9, skip it and instead see a different type of crime caper: The Sting. This 1973 masterpiece starring Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Robert Shaw is playing in Winter Park’s Central Park, weather permitting, at 8 p.m. The picture and sound quality on the outdoor screen are never that great, but, hey, you get to see one of the greatest movies of all time for free, in commemoration of its 40th anniversary, so stop complaining and go eat your free popcorn.

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