REVIEW: I, Daniel Blake (2016) by Mark Putley

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Anticipation:     3.5/5    You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, similarly you shouldn’t judge a film by its trailer, and that’s exactly what I did. I saw a trailer for I, Daniel Blake the last time I was at the pictures and I thought ‘yes, that’s going to be a good one.’ I, Daniel Blake seemed to have an allure, maybe not in the same way that Star Wars: The Force Awakens made its convincing argument but in an understated hidden gem sort of way. Some movies get lost on the crowded radar; the last brit-flick I caught on its release was the nostalgic reboot of Dad’s Army, so I thought I would give I, Daniel Blake a look.

Final Verdict:     4/5   Through a varied and hugely talented cast this movie draws focus to the theme of friendship and how it can flourish between the most unlikely people. Ultimately I, Daniel Blake is not the film to see if your looking to heighten your spirits on a Saturday afternoon, that said, it tells a wonderful and poignant story which I think is certainly worth your time.

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Set in the backdrop of Newcastle, Ken Loach’s film tells the story of Daniel Blake (Dave Johns), a skilled carpenter who is put out of work due to ill health and finds himself experiencing the frustrations and tribulations of state welfare.

Katie (Hayley Squires) is a single mother who, much like Daniel Blake, faces a daily struggle to pay rent and even provide food on the table. Unpolished and flawed characters, living on the breadline with an underlying feeling of abandonment from the government… it all sounds very British, doesn’t it? Just like a brisk slap around the face or a particularly potent cup of coffee, I, Daniel Blake carries a very sobering and solemn message. The film is careful not to be stayed, ensuring that the narrative is well paced and develops in a way that keeps you entertained. The film is very well-considered and gives a truthful account of the failures of Britain’s benefit system that has left many disillusioned and forgotten by a system that was meant to support them.

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It’s absolutely clear to me that when writing the screenplay, Paul Laverty really considered the characters individually and how their relationships with one another should develop. It could be said that this movie does have an air of predictability, however it’s not necessary about the destination, but rather the journey the characters go on. The thought-provoking premise, wonderful script, very talented cast, and the unparalleled Ken Loach, make I, Daniel Blake a film that will resonate with the masses, especially in this time of global austerity. I am sure this will go down in British cinema history as a truly remarkable film.

See this one.

I, Daniel Blake trailer

Here’s an interview with director Ken Loach about I, Daniel Blake

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What did YOU think of I, Daniel Blake? Sound off in the comment section below!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Gavin says:

    Great review. I watched this shortly after the US elections and, yes, it did nothing to improve my mood! It did however hit hard the reality of our society and our treatment of people who need help. Daniel remains upbeat throughout the hellish Catch 22 situation that he finds himself in and I found that heightened the whole drama. My first Ken Loach film experience and it was well received.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anonymous says:

      Absolutely Gavin, it wasn’t the most uplifting trip to the pictures however I thought it was a deeply moving and sincere film. Thank you for your comment.

      Like

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