12 October 2010 | HiPalmetto
What are these two up to?
Loved this film. It really took me back. They don't quite nail the period, but you can tell when Fiennes is talking about his schooldays at the start, about leaving at 14, that they're blurring things a bit, or at least his character doesn't realize how things have changed... The preoccupation with obscenity, for example, is more 60s than 70s. (They work the idea so much of the Swinging 60s passing Cemetery Junction by that it's almost homage to Tom Courtenay and Rita Tushingham and that crowd!) It's England before punk, before the computer revolution, when the establishment thought they had won the argument that there was no cause left worth rebelling for/against, when there was still a workshop rather than silicon chip flavor to working life.
You can criticize the Hollywood stuff if you like, but Gervais and Merchant like to work where they can at different levels, as long as they get to take the mick out of all of them. I didn't hear the old radio shows much, but enough to know that. This is no exception. Not a strong plot. You have seen it lots of times before. Billy Liar is a better variation. But great dialog, great comic acting , beautifully observed, very funny, fantastic soundtrack. The only time I have ever liked the Osmonds' Crazy Horses. Great entertainment. You'd need to be really hard to please to be disappointed on that score. Personally I'd have liked a bit more sync with the Reading Festival, maybe some Rory Gallagher on the soundtrack, but bluesy Zeppelin will do, I'm not complaining. I'll take 2 stars off, though.
You still have to read between the lines to see the influence Ireland is starting to have. Made me wonder if they were starting to chicken out a bit from the path they've established, but we'll see, and I think there is something there. In the meantime, if you fancy a really funny film set in Belfast (different decade, 73 in Belfast was hell) there's always "An Everlasting Piece". But Cemetery Junction is not as petty and insignificant as some of the reviewers suggest. What exactly were they expecting? "Jane Eyre"? "War and Peace"?