100 minutes, Drama 

The famous proverb “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes” is honestly and realistically exemplified in this new film from director Ken Loach, recipient of a 15 minute standing ovation at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. This Palme d’Or winner is shot and set at Newcastle upon Tyne in Northern England and chronicles the aftermath of a workplace incident sustained by Daniel Blake (Dave Johns, in his feature film debut), a 59 year-old carpenter. Deemed medically unfit to work for an indefinite amount of time and struggling to keep up with ongoing finances, Daniel is forced to turn to welfare support for the first time in his life. Finding very little help, he meets a young single Mother during his application process, who is in a similar predicament.

Frequent collaborators Ken Loach and screenplay writer Paul Laverty have worked on thirteen films prior to I, DANIEL BLAKE including THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY and JIMMY’S HALL. This may very well be their most successful and best contribution together yet. As perfectly intended, this is one of those films that is so genuine and true to life, you forget you’re watching a scripted movie. So true to life it is, you’ll be well aware that in reality, the only made-up part of I, DANIEL BLAKE are the characters on screen. There are quite a number of individual issues that are raised throughout the plot which will strike a chord with viewers. The researched insight afforded to these specifics and the carefully selected minor details highlight the conviction of the writing and also gorgeously extract some bittersweet humour from the scenarios depicted.

Shot in chronological order, this is an accurately studied account which chronicles the lead up to a growing crisis that most metropolitan people observe on a daily basis, and of just what can become of a person when they’re driven by desperation and pushed to breaking point. This is a truly involving and utterly valuable film. Highly recommended.

4 out of 5


Viewer Discretion
MA 15+ – Strong Coarse Language

Moviedoc wishes to thank Transmission Films for the in-season pass to view & review I, DANIEL BLAKE.

Review by Moviedoc
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