|Screenwriter Paul Laverty and Actress Hayley Squires introduce I,DANIEL BLAKE|
I'm getting sideways looks from some friends who loved I, DANIEL BLAKE and they are wondering why I too wasn't moved to tears and anger. The simple answer the film is way too artificially constructed.
The story of a carpenter who is recovering from a heart attack and is forced to ask for public assistance the film paints a bleak portrait of life in England. Kafka has nothing on the British bureaucracy as he is told that whatever he does is not good enough, that he needs a smart phone and computer as well as anything they seem to demand from him. The trouble for Blake is that his doctors say he can't work for several months but a clerk, based on answers to a questionnaire say he's fine. As a civil servant myself I know what a hell the rules can be and Blake never saw it coming.
The problem for me is that the film hits everything you'd expect from a film like this and then some. I say this because the film adds in a single mom and her kids so that we can experience everything wrong with the system in one shot. Its dead on predictable to the point that I scribbled down seven or eight things in the first five minutes and every one of them happened. God bless Ken Loach, if he's going to stir the pot he's going to do it right.
For me the sad thing is that while Loach's heart is in the right place, I don't think many of the critics and festival who are praising the film really give a rat's ass about the subject. I think Loach has made the perfect film for the intelligentsia to throw laurels at in an effort to seem like that are pissed at the system and poverty, but beyond that they won't do bubkus. Watching the film I had the feeling that I was watching something that as supposed to be good for me rather than something that was going to move me.