Daniel Blake is a carpenter, 59 years of age. After a heart attack, his gp, her cardiologist and his physio he forbidden to return to work. However, the medical officer accredited by the british government deems fit to resume a professional activity. This judgment marks the beginning of a descent into the underworld.
Many speak of ME, DANIEL BLAKE as a new brulot directed by a filmmaker, the most striking of these last decades. Many evoke the anger and the rage of Ken Loach. There are in this film. However, speak only of the resentment and indignation of the filmmaker would be to hide a whole dimension of his new work. The absurdity, the dehumanization and solidarity are just as present in these 100 minutes. First, the dehumanization. The social system in the uk that grinds to the men and women who are most in need of help. Maze of agents, rules and regulations, the offices of social services are as much of mazes and trap outstretched to those in need. Pointing with modesty and soundness of the absurdity of the rules and interrogations established by the senior managers, Ken Loach makes of the agents who apply them, of voice (the first interrogation of Daniel is led on a black background) and living beings could but obey orders. All offences and the willingness to deviate from rules are immediately punished. That one is an “applicant” as Daniel or Rachel or even “used”, it must comply with the protocols. By repeating and multiplying with the interviews and the interviews between Daniel and his “agent,” the director emphasizes the minute details of the inconsistency and the aberrations specific to the situation of Daniel and the thousands of anonymous.
To escape these depths, there remains only the Man, the human being in all its complexity and its beauty. ME, DANIEL BLAKE it is also solidarity and mutual aid, which is born and grows between the characters. In the north of England, post-industrial, where demand for work exceeds supply, the system becomes the daily. Supporting and listening to each other, Daniel, Rachel and her children, Daisy and Dylan are used to reconstruct little by little a semblance of family. Can no longer rely on the State and its institutions, the individual and the man are the last bulwark against the degradation and humiliation. Creating characters that while modesty and nuance, Ken Loach gives them life with their flaws, ideals, flaws and tricks. This is another opportunity for the british film-maker to reveal two new players, Dave Johns and Hayley Squires, who embody accurately the everyman of a company in the middle of a storm. Touching and intense, they are riding together on the Styx of the Underworld of the modern world.
Ken Loach offers us his new version of Don Quixote, played with gusto by Dave Johns. Click To Tweet
ME, DANIEL BLAKE could be the umpteenth movie social on a world dehumanized in crisis. But it is more than that. New version of Don Quixote, Ken Loach gives the audience the portrait of a knight of modern times in the fight with the windmills of the administration. In the Face of the absurdity and dehumanization of the State, its officials and its agencies, the solidarity and mutual aid are the last barriers to indifference. Between provocation, anger, and combined alternatives, ME, DANIEL BLAKE never falls into melodrama, and the coldness. Always close to his characters, always observers of a society that forgets the other, Ken Loach takes the camera to do its fighting.