I, Daniel Blake (15)
I, DANIEL BLAKE
Run time: 100m
Director: Ken Loach
Cast: Dave Jones, Hayley Squires, Dylan McKiernan, Briana Shann
Synopsis: Daniel Blake (59) has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, for the first time ever, he needs help from the State. He crosses paths with single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie’s only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn’t know, some 300 miles away. Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man’s land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of ‘striver and skiver’ in modern-day Britain.
How to make a Ken Loach Film:
This blistering attack on the inadequacies of the British welfare system sees a return to his highest form for veteran director Ken Loach. From the start of his career in ‘60s British television, with his pioneering social dramas such as Up the Junction (1965) and Cathy Come Home (1966), a Loach film has guaranteed the viewer an uncomfortable but enlightening journey through the lower depths of British society. But little could have prepared us for the harrowing events of this heart-wrenching saga as a decent working man, Daniel (Dave Johns, a local Newcastle club and TV comedian) slips through the holes in the system, accompanied by an equally unfortunate single parent, Katie (Hayley Squires, a London TV actress, whose performance matches the authenticity of her co-star).
The script by Loach’s long-time Scottish collaborator Paul Laverty provides plenty of comic moments to lighten some of the film’s darkness, but never loses its prime direction – to explore and expose the heartless operation of a bureaucratic welfare system. The film was a worthy winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, cementing Loach’s reputation as the UK’s top international director.
Images courtesy of eOne