Cockburn Gazette - - COMMUNITY CLASSIFIED­S -

ANY­ONE who has dealt with Cen­tre­link, baf­fling gov­ern­ment bu­reau­cracy and red tape or been kept on hold for an hour will re­late to I, Daniel Blake.

Mid­dle-aged car­pen­ter and wid­ower Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) in north­east Eng­land is put on bed rest by his doc­tor af­ter he suf­fers a heart at­tack.

Turn­ing to the Gov­ern­ment for fi­nan­cial sup­port while he re­cov­ers, those who as­sess his ap­pli­ca­tion deem him fit for work and there­fore he must go on dole pay­ments and look for em­ploy­ment.

The process means hours in wait­ing rooms, icy Gov­ern­ment ad­min of­fi­cers and baf­fling dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy while the bills pile up.

Daniel be­friends sin­gle mother

of two Katie (Hay­ley Squires), who has been up­rooted from her run-down pub­lic hous­ing home in Lon­don and re­lo­cated with­out friends or fam­ily for sup­port and is strug­gling to feed her kids.

The two of­fer each other the sup­port they can­not find from the Gov­ern­ment.

You feel ev­ery frus­tra­tion of Daniel’s ex­pe­ri­ence, laugh in ut­ter dis­be­lief at ev­ery in­jus­tice and clench your fists in anger. Daniel, who can’t use a com­puter, asks a depart­ment em­ployee if there is a phone num­ber he can call for as­sis­tance and is told there is and he will find it on­line.

It is a de­press­ing state of af­fairs and an eye-open­ing ex­plo­ration of how clin­i­cal the sys­tem is.

But I, Daniel Blake is as heart­warm­ing as it is heart­break­ing, be­cause at its core it is about com­pas­sion and help­ing oth­ers.

One mi­nor quib­ble is that in the sec­ond half of the story, new plot el­e­ments are in­tro­duced that add to the drama but are not re­solved.

I, Daniel Blake screens as part of the Bri­tish Film Fes­ti­val, from Oc­to­ber 27 to Novem­ber 16.

Strug­gle: Dave Johns, Hay­ley Squires, Dy­lan McKier­nan and Bri­ana Shann in I, Daniel Blake.

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