Sorry We Missed You is the latest feature from the esteemed critically acclaimed British Auteur Ken Loach. Loach is possibly looking for a triple crown of Palme d’Or wins with this politically charged feature after winning the highly lucrative award twice previously, in 2006 and 2016 with The Windthat Shakes the Barley and I, Daniel Blake, respectively. Loach strikes again with a damning assessment of corporate capitalism, with a haunting film that is sure to take your breath away.
Considering the political turmoil of the United Kingdom, and Europe for that matter, it comes as no surprise that only three years after his original picture and truly haunting assessment of the benefits scheme in I, Daniel Blake, Loach returns to his always fascinating grassroots objection of the travesty of the British system. This time the dismay of the corporate political strangulation of the working class. Sorry We Missed You follows the Turner family – a northern household whose day to day life is on the brink of constant financial collapse. Ricky, the father, played by the terrific Kris Hitchen, who just started his job as a parcel delivery driver on a zero hour contract, has been in and out of work since the banking collapse of 2007. His wife Abiie, played by the stunning Debbie Honeywood, is equally on a dismal work cycle serving as a carer for the elderly on the NHS. Their children Liza, an impressionable worried young girl, and Seb, an always in trouble teenager, add even more problems into the growing pot of despair.
Loach’s film is an extraordinarily brutal eye-opening account of the poverty line. It’s narrative offers a devastating account of the ruthlessness of an open cycle of constant monetary deficit that plagues families alike throughout the country. The way Loach – narratively speaking – frames Sorry We Missed You is much in the same vein as a horror film. The now iconic documentarian aesthetic exercised by Loach and cinematographer Robbie Ryan of handheld footage adds a layer of immersion I never want to experience again. You can always feel the weight and animosity of this family’s disposition in a manner that is convicted in a hellish tension. Much like the Turner family themselves, you can’t escape. It progressively, slowly but surely, turns into a frantic nightmare before your eyes. It’s almost too overly convincing for the cinema screen in its raw organic outset but sadly, one that needs to be seen to be believed in the age of fake news and political bias.
The screenplay from Loach and writer Paul Laverty, with courtesy of ad-libbing from the cast, goes beautifully hand in hand with the aesthetic. The grassroots approach to casting and character reinforces the freshness and believability of a picture with this significant magnitude. The casting by Kahleen Crawford for one is most impressive. To find such fabulous homegrown talent in the likes of Debbie Honeywood and Kris Hitchen, who are both devastatingly striking in moments of emotional turbulence, needs many plaudits. The brutality bullish bravado each actor brings to the table is not only memorable but also intoxicating to see perform. Specifically, scenes between the parents and Seb, played by Rhys Stone – sequences that are devastating to watch play out, but are the crux of a film that sees circumstance and situation in a constant state of paralysis.
Loach’s Sorry We Missed You is a brutal telling of a life in sheer panic – as it tells a devastating account of the harshness of a modern world more dedicated to monetary gain than protecting its humanity and empathy. It might be too much of a re-tooling of I, Daniel Blake for some but it no doubt justifies itself to be told in the current midst of political turmoil and chaos that ravages a country that is in much need of a seismic wake-up call.
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