Ken Loach’s latest film I, Daniel Blake is a charming tale of found family that stumbles into the unfortunate pitfall of having so much to say that it says very little.
I, Daniel Blake opens with Daniel discussing his recent heart attack with a ‘healthcare professional’ who refuses to tell him what qualifies her to assess his ability to work. He repeatedly asserts the fact that his doctors have told him he cannot return to work because of the massive health risk it would pose. The opening is extremely powerful; by using only non-diegetic sound and withholding the visual side of this conversation, Loach forces us to really concentrate on what is happening. We see Daniel visit his old stomping ground to pick up some scrap wood from the lads at the construction site. Daniel’s hobby of carving fish mobiles is a clever way of demonstrating his drive to continue working. It’s a less-physical version of the carpentry he is no longer fit to do.