Chocolate Socialist (braisedbywolves) wrote,
Chocolate Socialist

Sightseers / Antiviral

This wasn't an intentional double bill as such - I was due to head down to Brighton last Saturday to hang around with G, and we thought "We could go to the movies!", and Film 1 was the film that we most felt like watching (the best of a bad bunch, I thought as I surveyed slim pickings) and then Film 2 G had seen at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival a few months ago and had enjoyed, and was happy to sit through again.

Sightseer is the third film from Ben Wheatley, the director of Kill List and Down Terrace, which I'd not particularly heard of before. It's a black comedy about an English couple who go on a short camping holiday, upon which the bodies start to pile up. I imagine we're all aware that there are a lot of ways that a film with the previous description can go wrong, but oh, it gets it all right. The characters are well-drawn, the killings start off as a believable extension of standard English simmer frustrations, a lot of it is funny about class without turning into lols at the lower-middle, and a lot of the violence is properly gruesome. Also there's a lot of excellent use of music, including a few shots where the film seems to be getting as disgruntled as some of the characters, referencing the fact that the English film industry used to make some of these vistas properly terrifying, but not they're just Visitor Centres.

Antiviral is the first film from Brandon Cronenberg, and the apple has not fallen very far from the unhealthy-looking tree. It's a film slightly at odd with its backstory, which is a satirical look at celebrity culture run out of control - our protagonist works for The Lucas Corporation, which sells to fans diseases based on those recently caught by their idols. The film doesn't really play this for laughs though - it essentially a corporate thr-iller. And I have rarely seen someone as ill looking as Caleb Landry Jones, who mopes balefully through the entire film with an intensity that you can almost see the fever lines coming off - a cross between The Pin in Brick and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Gormenghast. Since this is a) a a Cronenberg film and b) specifically called anti-viral, you would have thought that I might've twigged that my phobia of needles might come into play, but seriously, there are an awful lot of needles in here, along with a fair amount of Body Horror scenes - including a dream sequence that might stop you sleeping for a little bit. I probably sound a little down on this, but it really is very good and I'm glad I saw it. Not really sure what is happening as regards general release - but go see it if you can!
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