“I, Daniel Blake”: Red Ken Strikes Again with Kitchen-Sink Drama Brimming with Didactic Tediousness

Technically, Red Ken is an adjective reserved for London’s ex mayor and socialist extraordinaire Ken Livingstone, but nothing stops one from applying it to this most leftist of British film-makers, Ken Loach, who for some mysterious reason – probably his exotic status as a communist, working-class championing Englishman – as virtually assured of a Cannes slot no matter the quality of his work. This year he is back with “I, Daniel Blake”, a nondescript tedious drama barely able to contain its social didacticism, served with the sophistication of a forth-grade morality play.

i-daniel-blake

“I, Daniel Blake” tells the story of ageing Newcastle carpenter Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) who has recently suffered a heart attack and while recovering is advised by his doctor against going back to work. On the whim of a touchy, bureaucratic albeit privately outsourced health care assessor, Daniel is unable to claim disability benefits while on the mend and is forced to register as a jobseeker at the local job centre. This will precipitate him into an odyssey of online jobseeker’s allowance applications, CV writing courses and the hell of this awful modern day tool called “the internet”. However, Daniel is at ease with an older style of tools – the carpenter’s box and generally fixing housing problems are his shtick and Loach spares no pains at hammering in this metaphor time after time.

1568

At the job centre Daniel encounters of array of heartless machine-like civil servants with zero empathy for the population they serve, steadfastly sticking to procedure. He also makes the acquaintance of a down-and-out single mother-of-two Katie (Hayley Squires), whom he immediately takes under his wing, developing a saviour complex as she sinks into greater destitution after having been forced to move to Newcastle with her two children because of the unavailability of council housing in her native London.

The intention of the filmmaker is probably to depict a Kafkaesque web of bureaucratic nightmare while at the same time censuring the whittling away of the British welfare state under the present Conservative government, however the manner in which Loach goes about his social critique is so heavy-handed, unoriginal and tedious – what with the two-dimensional grotesqueness of the job centre automatons and the cliché after cliché of young English working-class unemployed single motherhood piled upon Katie – that all the film manages is to virtually drain the relatively privileged Cannes audience of whatever empathy they may have originally borne towards the English underclasses, the proverbial ‘scroungers’ of Thatcher-speak brought to life…

The moralising preachiness of “I, Daniel Blake” – yes, they are nice people, no, they do not deserve to be poor and maltreated by the inhumane capitalist bureaucracy, yes the Conservative party is full of self-serving toffs governing Britain in their own interests – is so commonplace and devoid of any sort of formal or artistic merit, or indeed emotive potential, that watching the film feels rather like a drawn-out lecture by a long-winded Marxist political economy teacher. Thank you for the lesson, Red Ken.




Add Comment


50 CEOs Who Never Went to College (and how they managed to succeed)
10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
7 Best Golf Courses in St. Augustine, Florida
25 Bachelor Party Movie Ideas
People playing the clarinet
10 Different Types of Clarinets
11 Different Types of Drums
A bowl of oatmeal porridge
7 Different Types of Porridge
Shots of tequila
5 Different Types of Tequila (Plus Tequila Cocktails)
Fresh kale in a bowl
10 Different Types of Kale
8 Different Types of Cantaloupes
A Man in a Suit Opening a Car’s Door
9 Different Types of Car Doors
Headlights of a black car
9 Different Types of Headlights
19 Different Types of Construction Vehicles
Fire Truck with Warm Yellow Lights
9 Different Types of Fire Trucks
54 Different Types of Sports Played (Individual and Team Sports)
15 Different Types of Goggles
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
16 Different Types of Technology
man holding smartphone with vintage case
11 Types of Cell Phone Cases and Covers to Protect Your Expensive Smartphone
Black and Red Tablet Covers
8 Types of Tablet Cases for Kids, Protection, and Convenience
Camera, lenses and other photography equipments.
45 of the Best Online Camera Stores for the Perfect Pics