Ricky Gervais is back with another Netflix original in After Life
After Life is a new comedy/drama, directed by & starring Ricky Gervais. If you’re a fan of the man then I am sure you’ll binge this entire series in just one sitting – well, I did anyway.
Gervais effortlessly puts himself in the shoes of nearly every other character that he has ever played. He knows that this is all he has to do, and you know something? he’s fucking right too! why fix what ain’t broken?. He never has to think outside the box, he has his winning-formula and he’s sticking to it. That, and it now seems that he has streaming giants Netflix in the palm of his hands.
Another thing that Gervais does effortlessly is to have the ability to write storylines, characters and create entire worlds which all of us can connect to. Underneath the comedy and usual Gervais, antics are stories that hit us right in the feels. He’s a master at the human-side of drama and this new 6-part series has all of the above.
In After Life, Gervais plays Tony, a journalist for a free newspaper who has just lost his wife to cancer. The loss of his wife has left Tony empty, self-destructive and suicidal. Once a pleasant funny guy, he now spends his days making life miserable for his colleagues and anyone that comes into his life. Adding to the depressing reality, no one reads the newspaper anymore…especially the free ones. This makes them so desperate that any local, ridiculous story will make the headlines….like a stain on a wall that resembles Kenneth Branagh.
I found the story to have the same structure as my favourite Phillip Seymour Hoffman flick, Love Liza – a guy loses his wife and goes down a path of self-destruction as a way of grieving.
Personally, I think this is Gervais’ best work to date. It has the best elements from The Office with a lot of interesting funny characters. It was also great to see Ashley Jensen who played Maggie Jacobs in Extras in one of the leading roles.
And now that Gervais isn’t working under the strict dictatorship-like regime of the BBC, he’s allowed to let loose..and it shows in After Life. There’s no way that the BBC would let him get away with some of the scenes in After Life. I for one am glad that Netflix has given him total creative control to say and do whatever he likes.
I have no shame in admitting it, but After Life left me a blubbering mess and if you’re a fan of his style (even if there only is one) then I am sure you will be left feeling the exact same way too.
As always, thanks for reading
Words by Gary Gamble Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker