Sunday, June 18, 2017

I, Am Daniel Blake

(from The Guardian 12 May 2016) With this movie Ken Loach establishes himself yet further as the John Bunyan of contemporary British cinema. Based on research and interviews by the screenwriter Paul Laverty, this movie tells the fictional story of Daniel Blake, a middle-aged widower in the North East (of England) who can’t work or get benefits after a near-fatal heart attack, and the story is told with stark and fierce plainness: unadorned, unapologetic, even unevolved. Loach’s movie offends against the tacitly accepted rules of sophisticated good taste: subtlety, irony and indirection. The film is not objective, and perhaps Loach and Laverty have signed up to Churchill’s maxim about refusing to be neutral between the fire brigade and the fire

This is a powerfully affecting movie.  Set in the U.K. it is pertinent for audiences in other countries as well.  The movie is sober, infuriating and sad.  Practicing medicine in the U.S., I can resonate with the maddening bureaucracy. Physicians are almost nowhere to be seen here.  It seems like no one was running interference for Daniel Blake.  That may well be the way it usually is.

No comments: