I, Daniel Blake (2016)

Director: Ken Loach

Writer: Paul Laverty (Screenplay)

Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Briana Shann, Dylan McKiernan, Kate Rutter, Sharon Percy, Kema Sikazwe

 

Plot: After having suffered a heart-attack, a 59-year-old carpenter must fight the bureaucratic forces of the system in order to receive Employment and Support Allowance.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch Movie

 

Story: I, Daniel Blake starts as we learn that Daniel (Johns) has suffered a heart attack and is on the mend, not ready to return to work as per doctor’s orders, only he financial support allowance has been taken away from him. Calming going through the processes to get it collecting again Daniel finds himself going round in circles.

When he meets and defends single mother Katie (Squires) who is new to the area trying to get signed up for her own allowances, the two become friends and offer to support each other in their battle to just keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables, it what is a shocking look at the benefit system.

 

Thoughts on I, Daniel Blake

 

Characters – Daniel Blake has worked his whole life, he lost his wife and suffered a heart attack while working, living on support allowance while recovering until the doctors clear him to work, he learns that he has lost his allowance and gets forced into a battle just to get enough money to live, getting sent round in circles to get an appeal date. Katie is a Londoner forced to move to Newcastle for a flat with her two children, working with Daniel she has her own battles to stay afloat putting her children first, seeing Daniel as the friend she needs to help her settle. Daisy is the eldest child of Katie that has been seeing the good in Daniel who is one of the only people outside of her family to help her. China is the neighbour of Daniel’s he offers to help if Daniel needed anything even if he is from a different generation or background.

PerformancesDave Johns steps in the first film role and is fantastic, giving us a performance, we truly sympathise with. Hayley Squires is strong through the film where we see how she has been beaten down by life and needs to remain strong for her children. The supporting cast are good and help Dave get the spotlight like he deserves.

StoryThe story gives us a shocking look at the benefit system in the UK, we follow Daniel who has worked his whole adult life until his heart attack meaning he can’t return to work, which leads to him to need to fight for benefits he is entitled to, but the government wouldn’t give him the benefits. The story shows us the flaws in the system which could leave people with nothing and even on the streets. This could easily be considered a warning to what people are going through without needing to ask for help and how the system can be considered for a new look to help.

SettingsThe film is set in Newcastle the northern city in England, one that has been known for harder times but unity between the people there.


Scene of the Movie –
Spray paint,

That Moment That Annoyed Me That this is a real problem.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the more important movies you will see, especially if you are UK based, it will give you a shocking look at the benefit system and just how flawed it is, while making you want to support the lead character in his battle for basic support.

 

Overall: Essential viewing for all.

Rating

 

 

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Fisherman’s Friends (2019)

Director: Chris Foggin

Writer: Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft (Screenplay)

Starring: Tuppence Middleton, James Purefoy, Daniel Mays, David Hayman, Christian Brassington, Sarah Winter, Dave Johns, Noel Clarke

 

Plot: Ten fisherman from Cornwall are signed by Universal Records and achieve a top ten hit with their debut album of Sea Shanties.


Tagline – The U.K’s number 1 Buoy Band

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Feel Good Start to the Summer

 

Story: Fisherman’s Friends starts when a stag-do heads to Cornwell, Danny (Mays) joined by his boss Troy (Clarke) head down to Port Isaac where they struggle to understand the traditional ways of the small fishing village. In the village the guys here the local’s fishermen singing the shanty songs.

Danny is forced to try and sign the band with lead member Jim (Purefoy) being the one that gives the final say so. Danny didn’t know that Troy was joking, once he learns this, he wants to prove him wrong and make the band an overnight sensation.

 

Thoughts on Fisherman’s Friend

 

Characters – Danny is a fast-talking record producer, he has success in this field and isn’t interested in any sort of responsibility in life. On a stag-do he gets pushed into signing a local band, this shows his skills in the deal. When he learns that it was a joke, he continues to try and sign the band, to make them a hit, while learning about a more traditional lifestyle. Jim is considered the leader of the band, in the decision-making process, if he says no, nothing happens. He is considered stubborn in his ways, which sees him believe in the traditions and friendship. Alwyn is the daughter of Jim’s, she runs the local bed-n-breakfast, where Danny ends up staying, where she gets involved in a relationship with after he shows a bond with her own daughter.

PerformancesDaniel Mays in the leading role is great, he has often been the supporting actor, but he shows he could lead here. James Purefoy brings his best to a role based on the real leader of the band, he makes him feel like a man you should never mess with. Tuppence Middleton might be in the unneeded romantic angle, but she does everything right to make us believe she knows the traditions of her town. The rest of the cast do all work very well to make us feel like we are going to be part of a community with the band.

StoryThe story follows a group of fishermen who become an overnight sensation when a music producer on a stag-do spots them and is forced into signing them for their label. The story is based on the real story of the bands rise to success, which in the modern era of music was a surprise, but it also plays into how people tend to follow different sounds. Everything about the band is excellent to watch, it shows that it is almost a different life down in their village. The weakness in the story comes from the romantic angle which does feel mostly just tacked on for added impact in Danny’s decision making process. It might work in places, but it does take away from the band’s story. overlooking that issue, we do have a truly fun, feel-good movie about success here.

Comedy/MusicalThe comedy in the film comes from just how the locals act towards outsiders, they have wonderful chemistry between them too. The music shows how this new sound could make an impact in the world.

SettingsThe settings show us a couple of main ones, first is the village, which shows the community feel between the band, when we are in the richer side of the world, we see the disconnect between the people.


Scene of the Movie –
London pub.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the romance story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a feel-good movie that will leave you with a smile and hope that anybody’s dream could become a reality.

 

Overall: British Feel-good

Rating