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Cemetery Junction

19 April 10 words: Harry Wilding
Their relationship with their elders – living reminders of what they want to avoid becoming – that is the main drive of the story
 
 Christian Cooke, Jack Doolan and Tom Hughes in Cemetery Junction
Cemetery Junction – excellent as a title and a setting – is the debut film from the genius collaborators Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais. After such great comedies as The Office and Extras, perhaps a more serious drama was a strange direction to go but I think it was just a simple switch around; their TV shows were comedies with some drama, Cemetery Junction is a drama with some comedy. “Less funny”, Gervais has joked.
Summer 1973, and Freddy (Christian Cooke) starts his new job as a door-to-door salesman selling life insurance. Through a series of events that leads him to meet an old childhood friend, Julie (the lovely Felicity Jones) he begins to see there is more to life than a wife, a mortgage and 2.4 children - and more to the world than Reading, England.
The tagline, though meaningful, comes off sounding slightly corny – ‘Be free, be young, be somebody’ – but the story grabs that sentiment without the cheese. The banter between the friends works well, as Freddy is the happy medium of the three. Snork (Jack Doolan) is loveable, geeky and rubbish with the ladies, whilst Bruce (Tom Hughes) is charismatic, violent and good with the ladies. However, it is their relationship with their elders – a living reminder of what they want to avoid becoming – that is the main driving point of the story.
Felicity Jones in Cemetery Junction
Although well shot, with spot on set design, the cinematography is nothing to shout about; but the power in their direction is always with the actors who are all on top form. If it’s established actors like Ralph Fiennes and Emily Watson, comedy ones like Julia Davis and Ricky Gervais himself, or newcomers Matthew Goode and Christian Cooke, they all handle the nicely crafted dialogue and characters perfectly to make you either root for them or want to punch them.
Okay, so it’s not as original and groundbreaking as their TV work but I’m sure that will come with future projects. It is the best movie Gervais has been a part of (The Invention of Lying was a terribly wasted amazing idea and Ghost Town was far from bad), however, the Merchant/Gervais team seems to be the best way. Cemetery Junction is a feel good movie without the soppiness and, yes, do not worry; it is funny, just less so than The Office.

Cemetery Junction official website

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