A 59-year-old carpenter recovering from a heart attack, befriends a single mum and her two kids as they navigate their way through the kafkaesque impersonal benefits system. With equal amounts of humour, warmth and despair. Heartfelt and emotional until the end
First off I admit Ken Loach can be a difficult watch at times – bleak, brutal and hardly any happy endings. My Name is Joe, Kes, The Wind That Shakes the Barley are all great award-winning films, though you usually need a stiff drink after. But they’re important, and often tell necessary stories that aren’t seen on the big screen.
I, Daniel Blake is another classic Loach film, picking up the 80 year-old’s second Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The story of British beneficiaries struggling against bureaucracy will ring true to a lot of Kiwis, and that’s the strength of Loach’s films – his social realism makes them feel like current documentaries.
Filming in Newcastle for the first time he’s stuck to his usual script of casting unknown actors and locals. Geordie comedian Dave Johns delivers some mischievous laughs as Daniel, newcomer Hayley Squires is just devastating as Katie and her two kids will break you heart.
The unfolding of their unlikely friendship is beautiful to watch, especially Daniel’s skilled craftsmanship making an impact on the young ones. While equally painful as well – there’s a food bank scene that is tough viewing – it makes relevant points on today’s society that need to be said.
Definitely not your fun-filled family blockbuster, but this is powerful award-winning stuff from a master storyteller. Funny and heartbreaking, it’s a relevant commentary on the state of a nation.
DVD Releases: 22nd March 2017
Rating: M – Contains Offensive language & adult themes
Duration: 100 minutes
Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Sharon Percy
Director: Ken Loach (Angel’s Share, The Wind That Shakes the Barley)
Director Ken Loach is the oldest Palme d'Or winner ever. When he won on 22nd May 2016 for I, Daniel Blake (2016), he was 79 years old.
Director Ken Loach was invited for the 13th time into the 'Official Competition' of the Cannes International Film Festival. This is probably a record.
At the Cannes premiere, Ken Loach and his team were greeted with a rapturous 15-minute standing ovation after the official screening of I, Daniel Blake (2016).
The film was shot in chronological order. Lead actress Hayley Squires was not given the entire script to read before filming. She only was given fragments as accompanying scenes were shot.