I, Daniel Blake - 4 Stars
Depressing and emotional, this movie can’t help but drive home its all too relevant message.
A middle aged carpenter who requires state welfare after injuring himself, is joined by a single mother in a similar scenario.
This movie was made on a micro-budget and there are some instances where a little more funding would’ve helped. There are numerous fade-to-black’s used in the film and these feel a little amateurish and also give the impression the film has ended (they are very slow to fade back up). However, the Paul Laverty screenplay is superb. He’s written realistic, relatable characters who suffer through all too real scenarios and Ken Loach’s direction brings this to life seamlessly.
The performances too are great, Dave Johns and Hayley Squires are forces to be reckoned with and I hope this leads to other performance opportunities for them both. The cast of supporting characters is also strong, but there are some extras who are clearly overdoing it - again something that could’ve been avoided with sightly more funding.
Overall this is one of those films that defied all the odds and has become a critical and financial hit. It has a powerful message about government and cooperation and is emotional viewing. Despite its faults this is one not to miss.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas