Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Cemetery Junction



  • Released Internationally on 14/04/10
  • Released in Malta by KRS on 05/05/10


In a nutshell

Cemetery Junction is an intersection in the small English town of Reading, where not much happens. In the early 70s, three inseparable young men find themselves at a different sort of crossroads – whether to break the mould and do something exotic with their life, or whether to succumb to the dreary routine and end up like their uninspiring parents.

From the makers of

With a plot, setting and look that could have it mistaken for a British television drama, the main reason this film is making it to big screens is the pair of names behind it all. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are the talented duo that have graced the past decade with their seminal series ‘The Office’ and ‘Extras’. The widespread acclaim they garnered in the process has now allowed them to pursue further projects, and this is their first collaboration on the big screen.

Small fry

But making the jump to the big screen doesn’t mean they had to give up their knack of focusing on the often quaint and mundane life of low-key Britain. Having grown up in Reading, Gervais seems to have poured a lot of himself into this project, and he even makes an appearance as the deadbeat father of one of the three protagonists. The town is slowly stifling its youth, as generation after generation fall into the factory-pub-home-repeat cycle, with no apparent need to leave the town or bother about the beyond.

Daring to be different

Freddie thinks that can change. He joins a life insurance company whose wealthy boss once attended the same rundown school as he did, and who blossomed out of the same junkyard neighbourhood. He sets aside his prankster ways and invests in a tie and briefcase, and starts his steady climb to the top. But his two bosom buddies aren’t amused, and they think he’s gone soft. They stick to their boozing and fighting, and see nothing wrong with continuing to spend the occasional night in the lock-up. But Freddie soon starts to realise that even his pompous company isn’t all it’s made up to be, and if he really doesn’t want to settle for an ordinary life, he has to pack up and leave town.

Who’s in it?

The main trio is portrayed by three fresh-faced newcomers with hardly any big-screen credits to their name – Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes and Jack Doolan. They do the job wonderfully, and when they each take their tough decisions at the end of the film, we can fully understand why. Felicity Jones (Flashbacks of a Fool) is Freddie’s childhood sweetheart, boss’ daughter and colleague’s fiancée, and her sudden appearance on the scene is what sets the train wheels in motion. Ralph Fiennes is in The Duchess mode as he runs his family and company with a deadpan expression and no room for fun, and Emily Watson (Red Dragon, Punch-Drunk Love) is his long-suffering wife who has had all life extinguished out of her, but still hopes her daughter won’t follow suit. Matthew Goode (A Single Man, Watchmen) and Steve Speirs (Eragon) round off the impressive cast.

Pockets of perfection

The film excels in delivering compact nuggets of family life which are incredibly real and touching, and very well portrayed. Each family situation or tough decision only occupies the screen for a couple of scenes, but largely thanks to the great writing those few moments manage to convey the history, emotion and importance those moments have on the characters’ life. Life is made up of moments, and these moments clearly define these three young men.

In the end

Sneaking in amongst the summer blockbusters, this film probably won’t make any huge waves. But I doubt anyone will watch it and not enjoy every minute of it, and realise that every part of this small film fits perfectly into place. Often hilarious, and heartfelt throughout.





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