Friday Flicks: The Great Gatsby Meets Its Critics

TIME breaks down which films to see and which to avoid this weekend.

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Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture / © 2013 Bazmark Film III Pty Limited


Tagline: Evil has a knitted jumper.

In its native Britain last year, there was a fair amount of buzz surrounding Sightseers. Now it hits U.S. shores, hoping to make a similar impact.

It’s the latest feature by director Ben Wheatley, who has quickly established himself as one of his country’s most interesting film-makers, helming the highly praised Kill List and Down Terrace.

There were moments of darkness in Wheatley’s work before Sightseers so it’s no surprise that this black comedy isn’t all about the laughs. And so we meet the caravanning couple Tina and Chris (Alice Lowe and Steve Oram) who kill people they feel are polluting or ruining the countryside.

U.S. critics, for the most part, have been won over. “Doing his countrymates proud, Brighton-based Ben Wheatley pushes all sorts of inappropriate buttons in Sightseers, a sick gag of a film that’s bound to scar only the irony-challenged,” raves Time Out New York in a five-star review. “It’s rare and heartening to see such a talented film-maker retaining his distinctive, uncompromising approach as he takes a step towards the mainstream,” concludes the Hollywood Reporter. But the Financial Times isn’t impressed with the ending (“fatigue arrives and doesn’t go away”) while the A.V. Club isn’t impressed in general: “The relentless contrast of banality with horror seems to be Wheatley’s signature move … But the humor here, ironically, doesn’t travel well.”

MORE: Kill List at SXSW 2011

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: It seems as though both this week’s films could divide opinion: for every fan, there could easily be a foe. Perhaps a double bill is the way to go.

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