SORRY WE MISSED YOU (15)

SORRY WE MISSED YOU (15)

Run time: 100 Mins

Director: Ken Loach    

Cast: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, Katie Proctor, Ross Brewster

Synopsis: Three years after ‘I, Daniel Blake’, Ken Loach and his long-term collaborators (screenwriter Paul Laverty and producer Rebecca O’Brien) return with another devastatingly powerful portrait of contemporary Britain.

The 2008 financial crash cost Ricky, a father of two, both his work in construction and his mortgage – but a better future may be around the corner.

‘Sorry We Missed You’ is a powerful exploration of the contemporary world of work, the gig economy and the challenges faced by one family trying to hold it all together.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysjwg-MnZao

Veteran film director Ken Loach [Cannes Film Festival Palme D’Or for I, Daniel Blake (2016) and The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006)] has a peerless reputation as a social realist filmmaker with a passionate voice, supporting working people and exposing injustice.

Sorry We Missed You is both an intimate family drama and an angry, meticulously researched indictment of a callous, inhumane economic system.

Family man Ricky (Kris Hitchen) enters the insecure gig economy as a delivery driver in hopes of buying a house for his wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood) and children Seb (Rhys Stone) and Lisa Jane (Katie Proctor). But the pressures sparked by the ruthless culture that goes along with such employment start to tell, and a catastrophic series of events threaten to overwhelm the family.

Having never been on the dole, Ricky is confident his work ethic will see him through. As a self-employed ‘owner-driver franchisee’ however, every minor setback or delay triggers a fine, with no recourse and no second chances. Abbie faces equally exploitative pressures in her zero-hour-contract job and, under the weight of relentless schedules and rising debts, their family life is soon pushed to breaking point.

What appears initially as a promising opportunity for financial independence starts to unravel from the moment Ricky persuades his wife, who works as a carer for the elderly, to sell the car she uses to rush from ‘client’ to ‘client’ to finance the van’s purchase.

Loach and his regular screenwriter Paul Laverty have created a blistering indictment of the gig economy. It is a painful and movingly relevant look at a ‘non-job’, one that comes with next to zero benefits – no contract, no confirmed earnings and a series of severe penalties, humiliations and hidden horrors that kick in if Ricky doesn’t toe the line and meet the targets of his unsympathetic boss Maloney (Ross Brewster).

The tyranny of the relentless nature of Ricky’s work soon becomes unsustainable and starts to damage family relationships, with every routine family occasion turning fractious.

Superbly written, acted and directed, Sorry We Missed You is a tough watch for all of us who benefit from online shopping, oblivious to the horrors of the job of ‘white van man’, who has the Sisyphean tasks of meeting precise time windows in busy traffic and looking after the vital hand held scanner, which tracks every move and slip-up.

The film tells a heart-wrenching, vitally important story of the way we live now – a family drama about how the gig economy damages the people it promises to save.

Images courtesy of: JOSS BARRATT and EONE