I, Daniel Blake

I went with several members to see ‘I, Daniel Blake’ the other day. For what it’s worth I attach a brief personal comment on the film. I do not pretend to be a film reviewer and will leave that to the likes of Mark Kermode.

I, Daniel Blake

I did not find this film entertaining. It did not make me wish for more or that the film was longer than the advertised 100 minutes. It was all I could do to sit through the whole drama without leaving my seat. The dehumanising of Daniel Blake was agonising to watch and I did want more but I simply couldn’t have watched.

It was quite simply a brilliant portrayal of the mundane. I’m sure everyone knows the plot by now but I won’t give it away just in case you don’t. If you haven’t seen this film do so immediately. If you have seen it, see it again.

The dignity which Daniel Blake carries throughout, compares starkly with the officialise of the functionaries who are only interested in ticking boxes and referring every conclusion to the ‘decision-maker’ who, although unseen, immediately takes on an uncanny Orwellian status.

This is a typical Ken Loach film portraying life for the working class exactly how it is for a too sizeable proportion of the population; Paul Laverty deserves a mention for his script, his understatements speak volumes.

On the one hand, there are the disadvantaged of society, Daniel Blake and the excellent Katie, and on the other the functionaries, or benefit officers in this instance, who are themselves working class but probably wouldn’t admit it. With a couple of notable exceptions, they seem to have had any compassion they might have had originally, removed during training. The film highlights how the establishment has conditioned otherwise good people to perform their menial tasks without a shred of sympathy for their human beings. It is a classic case of putting self-interest before kindness.

To them people are numbers and units, not individuals. A sad but true analysis of modern day society. For me, the film transcends any further analysis, just watch and weep. Sue Cooper was right when she said that she challenged anyone to watch it without weeping. I failed her challenge.

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