I, Daniel Blake
Dir: Ken Loach 1hr 40mins (15)
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”.