Cemetery Junction Reviews
The period setting has been captured to a tee; it's all red bricks, ghastly wallpaper, casual racism and cut-glass fruitbowls. Everything is viewed through a haze of cigarette smoke. It's little wonder the kids want out.
As filmmakers, Gervais and Merchant find a rhythm technically that makes the fact they never find the balance between humor and heart that they've achieved in the past even more of a disappointment.
Gervais and Merchant's previous projects mastered the tightrope walk between comic cruelty and earnest drama. With Cemetery Junction, they waver wildly, unveiling some of their ugliest jokes and most saccharine emotional moments to date.
There's a strong autobiographical tone to this British period drama, and the cast is very good. But by never focussing the story in a meaningful way, the film pales in comparison to its nearest predecessor, An Education.
While Remi Adefarasin's cinematography gives the picture a superficially cinematic sheen, this is essentially small-minded fare, unimaginative in its ambitions and clumsy in its execution.
It is entertaining as far as it goes, but it would have to be fully and Gervaisishly funny, or else fully nasty, vinegary and sad before everyone involved was, to coin a phrase, up the junction.
The plot ambles and Gervais and Merchant can't resist neatly tying up every loose end in a manner which strains credibility. Their dramatic crescendo is a mother pouring a cup of tea.