SPOILER Episode 47: I, Daniel Blake (2016, Dir: Ken Loach, Dave Johns, Hayley Squires)
Written by lincoln on 26th October 2018
“Wasting my time, employers’ time, your time. And all it does is humiliate me, grind me down. Or is that the point?”
This week, in a very special bumper episode of Spoiler, we’re watching Ken Loach’s 2016 drama ‘I, Daniel Blake’ and the team are all in agreement that it is one of the most important films of its era. With strong opinions coming from all sides, emotions run high as we discuss the benefits system, food banks, homelessness and dignity. Paul asks whether the depiction of job centre employees in ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is fair and Andy, who has been through several periods of unemployment, shares some of his own experiences of the system. Rachael celebrates the film’s refusal to pander to stereotypical expectations regarding the unemployed and everyone doffs their caps to the performances of Hayley Squires and Dave Johns, who make a film that could have seemed relentlessly bleak into something genuinely entertaining. Paul shares some of his much loved IMDB trivia about job centre water-coolers and the whole team share the specific moments in the film where they shed tears, including the already-famous food bank scene.
Elsewhere, Andy takes a look at some other screen depictions of unemployment including ‘Bicycle Thieves’, ‘Drifting Clouds’ and ‘Boys from the Blackstuff’.
This week’s scale: Why Aye, Daniel Blake or Nay Chance, Daniel Blake