Veteran british director ken loach’s cannes film festival winner is about an ageing, unemployed newcastle joiner with a heart condition who fights a heartless bureaucracy. while it’s an indictment of the modern day welfare state, eroded by bottom-line corporate managerialism, it’s also a wrenching melodrama. as daniel befriends a single mother of two, her plunge into despair at the hands of the same bureaucrats unsettles him. loach’s style remains spartan - indebted to italian neo-realism with unmannered performances, real-life locations and natural light. but there’s a brisk, to-the-point sharpness about it that delivers a powerful emotional thump.
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