I, Daniel Blake

2016

Action / Drama

59
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 93%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 88%
IMDb Rating 7.9 10 38746

Synopsis


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English
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1hr 40 min
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English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 40 min
P/S 3 / 26

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by David 10 / 10

Important Film

Honestly, I'm too upset and exhausted after watching that to write a substantial review. As someone who's been put through this system and is waiting under the sword of Damocles to go through it again, this was a hard bloody watch. But I knew it was important so I made myself watch it. I was actually surprised how well they captured the process. So much resonated. It's very hard to put into words when you're going through it but there's this ubiquitous enmity from start to finish, regardless of the legitimacy of your claim, regardless of your circumstances. It's nothing less than psychological warfare aimed squarely at the working classes and the disabled who cannot win in this situation. I particularly like how they captured the disgusting Catch 22 aspect of this rigged process. Whereby all legitimate claims are cynically refused by default. Then they automatically switch you to jobseeker's allowance from which point they set the rottweilers on you to bully you into paid or unpaid work by a process of harassment and public humiliation. It's easily the most sinister process I've ever experienced. I was shocked and horrified by it. There have been many stories in the press about people who are patently unfit for work who have been deemed fit for work by these criminals. And they inevitably end up killing themselves. The UK took a sinister run when Thatcher took power. The country has never been the same since. It is no less than warfare on the working classes, the poor, the disabled, and the sick. It's about time we drove these crooked traitors out of their comfortable leather chairs in Westminster and gave them a taste of their own medicine. It's gone too far. Anyway that's more than I wanted to say. I can't fault the film. It crammed a lot in there to illustrate the problem start to finish and I salute Ken Loach for this very important piece of work. Great acting and cinematography. A special nod to the people who played the bad guys. That is hard to pull off. It sent shivers down my spine they did such a good job. Thank you Ken Loach.

Reviewed by dazzanormc 10 / 10

Gripping and moving

This is an excellent movie. Brilliantly written and directed, this is a no holds barred look at the British benefits system and how it dehumanises people who need State funded help.

The two lead characters have gripping back stories. Daniel and Kate help each other come to terms with how the State sees them as nothing but a number and an unwanted burden.

The movie is gritty, heart breaking and funny in parts. It is a social commentary that Ken Loach is so good at, showing what a great filmmaker he is. This is not a feel good movie but it is a rewarding and thought provoking watch.

Reviewed by proud_luddite 7 / 10

A fine film about the underclass

In Newcastle, England, the title character (played by Dave Johns) is a widowed carpenter in his late fifties who is on the mend from a heart attack. In trying to get benefits for time off work (as recommended by his doctor), he gets stuck in a quagmire of bureaucracy. During one bad visit at a government office, he befriends Katie (Hayley Squires), an unemployed, single mother of two young children who has also been mistreated by government workers.

"I, Daniel Blake" is another courageous film by the team of director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty that focuses, in a realistic way, on the downtrodden who are too often ignored. While this is praiseworthy, the downturn is that the overall effect can be depressing and frustrating. While the last half hour was moving in a different direction, a final plot twist thwarted this - therefore preventing the story from adding more richness to its depth.

Johns and Squires are terrific in their performances as two society-rejects trying to get by and helping each other out when they can. Despite their hardships, they continue to maintain as much of their humanity as they can. Johns' appeal goes further in scenes when Daniel pokes fun at humourless nincompoops on power trips.

The film has some telling (and harsh) statements of modern society and bureaucracy. There is a very noticeable contrast in how kindly the poor are treated at a food bank (run by volunteers) vs. the despicable way they are treated by government departments (run by taxpayer-funded employees). The movie has been criticized for its depiction of government employees. Among this group, there is one such character who seems to stand out as she has more soul and humanity than her peers. The film might have achieved greater depth if it had delved more into her personal story.

In any case, this movie is likely to be understood by anyone has ever experienced hard times; anyone who has ever felt empathy for anyone who has experienced hard times; or anyone has ever experienced an overwhelming desire to throttle someone who is an insensitive, incompetent, arrogant, ignorant, overpaid, bureaucratic miscreant.

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