Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good Music, Funny and Warm - Cemetery Junction

     This one's about the 70's, it's British (not Hollywood), and has Led Zeppelin's 'The Rain Song' playing in the background when the movie is nearing an end. - There, you've sold this movie to me, and some other people I know.
     Now, for the clincher - it's made by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the guys behind the arguably best comedy series ever - The Office. You need more? Ralph Fiennes plays an arse, again (In Bruges, anyone?). His cocky, arrogant and borderline heartless goodbye to an old retiring employee in the guise of a speech at the "winner's ball" will make you want to take a cricket bat to his face, while also laughing your flab off.
     Well, the movie is everything you'd expect a feel-good movie to be. The story is about three 20 year old friends - Freddie (Christian Cooke), Bruce (Tom Hughes) and Paul (Jack Doolan), who has been named Snork by his mates, cause he has a knack for "sniffing out the muff".  The entire plot takes place in a small factory town in Reading called Cemetery Junction where the people have apparently "missed out on the swinging 60's" and "the blacks are just moving in." Freddie is an ambitious guy who wants to end up like Mr. Kendrick (Ralph Fiennes), perhaps the only rich guy in the entire town who made it big by heading an insurance firm, and not like his own Dad (Ricky Gervais) who works in the factory on weekdays and runs his own window cleaning business on weekends. Bruce, the wild one in the gang, who always ends up getting into trouble, and enjoys it as a means of running away from his own daddy issues, works in the factory, and just "talks" about leaving the town for good. Paul, or Snork, is by far the most colourful of the lot, who in his lame attempts at getting it on with women, not only ruins his own chances, but takes his mates down with him.
     The plot might sound like it's-all-been-done-before, but what makes this movie worth a positive review is the good number of enjoyable scenes involving The Office-like dialogue, an excellent supporting cast (conversations between Freddie's dad and Grandma will have you choking for breath) and the fact that it's a new movie about the 70's. Case in point,
                   Bruce (barging into Freddie's room as he's getting ready for the first day at work, and listening to classical music) - Why the hell are you listening to music made by poofs?! Listen to some normal Elton John's. 
     The humour at times gets dark too, like in a scene Freddie learns the tricks of selling insurance from a senior colleague played by the handsome Matthew Goode (Match Point, Watchmen,etc.). The way you can't stop feeling for the gullible old couple being brainwashed into buying insurance while giving up a holiday in Spain, is countered by the butcher-like ruthlessness of these salesmen. Another scene shows a desperate Freddie trying to sell insurance to a guy who'd rather spend the few extra quid on porn.
     The soundtrack is what you'd ideally imagine life in 70's Britain to be like. Mott the Hoople, Elton John and Led Zeppelin tracks sealed it for me. If you liked Garden State, An Education or Almost Famous, you'll want to give this one a try.

4/5 from me. Enjoy.

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