If You’re Not Angry, You’re Not Playing Attention: An ‘I, Daniel Blake’ review.


Directed by: Ken Loach.

Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires.

Veteran British director Ken Loach, known for his unflinching approach to social commentary in his films has, in ‘I, Daniel Blake’, directed something that should speak quite clearly to anyone living in this country today. Daniel Blake is a carpenter living in the north of England who suffers a major heart attack. The film charts Daniels struggles to survive in a world where the government dictates an incapacitated Daniel to be “fit for work” and not eligible for benefits.

This film boasts of strong, emotive performances from its leads. Dave Johns who plays the part of Daniel is equal parts funny & heartbreaking, delivering Daniel’s incredulity of his situation with tremendous likability and pathos. The same can be said of Hayley Squires in her portrayal of single mum Katie, another character in an all too familiar a situation, handled sensitivity and with great believability.

I, Daniel Blake recently won the Palme d’Or at this years Cannes film festival and it is not hard to see why. This is a brave, heart wrenching and important film, a film I hasten to add, everyone in this country should watch without question. The fact that it is a very good film is a bonus, its story and message are essential viewing for everyone simply because any one of us could so easily be Daniel Blake. It will to some feel painfully familiar, it make you laugh, it will make you cry, and by god, it will make you angry!  

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