Cemetary Junction (Review)

(4/14/10 UK; Drama)
Christian Cooke, Felicity Jones, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan, Emily Watson, Ricky Gervais, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes
SCR/DIR: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
MPAA: R for language and some sexual material.
1 hour 35 mins

In 1970s Britain, three friends find themselves at a crossroads while “shagging, drinking, and fighting” in this gritty coming of age film that could easily be described as a British Breaking Away (1979).

But instead of being derivative, the movie reminds us that the passage from crazy youth to adulthood comes with a lot of questions and no easy answers. Some of the humor is ribald and some of the sweeter moments a bit too saccharine, but this movie captures an authentic feeling of when generations butt heads amidst changing times.

Fiennes is great as the sexist, arrogant insurance magnate that Hughes gets a job working for (he’s also romancing the big guy’s daughter). His complete apathy would be hysterical if it didn’t cut so deep.

The most surprising thing about this earnest, well-shot, solidly-acted drama is that it was co-written and co-directed by Ricky Gervais. Unsurprisingly, the movie went straight to video in the US because re-branding Gervais as a serious filmmaker would have been a lot of work.

But if this film is any indication, the combined voice of Gervais and Merchant – they also wrote and directed The Invention of Lying (2009) – is a refreshing one indeed. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)


Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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