Cemetery Junction (15)
Friday 16 April 2010
Imagine Federico Fellini's I Vitelloni set in Reading in the early 1970s and sprinkled with Dick Emery-style gags and you'll come close to the essence of Cemetery Junction.
This is a heartfelt and intermittently funny account of growing up in – and trying to escape from – suburban England. Freddie (Christian Cook) takes a job selling life insurance under stern patriarch Mr Kendrick (Ralph Fiennes in Leonard Rossiter mode). His mum (Julia Davis) and dad (Gervais) mock his middle-class aspirations ("why do you want to go to Paris? There are parts of Reading you haven't seen?").
There is a surprisingly sentimental side to the narrative. Freddie is in love with the boss's daughter (Felicity Jones), although her head has been turned by sleek, cynical insurance salesman Mike Ramsay (Matthew Goode). The storytelling is choppy and episodic. The performances are engaging, though. Tom Hughes excels as the Albert Finney-like rebel, while Cook brings an ingenuous charm to his role.
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