I, Daniel Blake

Dir: Ken Loach 1hr 40mins (15)

The Week Middle East - - Arts -

A stir­ring cry from the heart I, Daniel Blake, which won this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes, is an­other char­ac­ter­is­tic of­fer­ing from Ken Loach, said An­to­nia Quirke in the FT. That is to say, it’s a drama that is po­lit­i­cally ex­tremely one-sided, yet car­ries a “prodi­gious” emo­tional force. The 80-yearold di­rec­tor of such stir­ring left-wing “ag­it­prop” as Poor Cow has cre­ated an­other be­lea­guered hero in the form of a Ge­ordie car­pen­ter (played by co­me­dian Dave Johns), en­gaged in a life-or-death strug­gle with the ben­e­fits sys­tem. A heart con­di­tion pre­vents him from ply­ing his trade, yet he lacks the IT skills to find an al­ter­na­tive. Johns “nails” the dif­fi­cult task of be­ing de­cent but not dull, said An­drew Lowry in Em­pire. And he’s “spik­ily” as­sisted by Hay­ley Squires as a ha­rassed sin­gle mum who gives the film’s most dis­tress­ing scene, when she des­per­ately slurps baked bean juice at a food bank. This “blackly comic” film is aus­terely made, with barely even a mu­si­cal score, said Dave Cal­houn in Time Out. It is “all the more pow­er­ful” for it. Loach is a great di­rec­tor but I, Daniel Blake is not him “at the top of his game”, said Brian Viner in the Daily Mail. The cri­tique of bu­reau­cracy is pretty crude, yet like all his films, it has “a ro­bust heart”.

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