28 October 2016.
I, DANIEL BLAKE ***1/2
This year’s Palme d’ Or winner at Cannes is one of the most heart-wrenching films you are likely to see. But it is worth your time and heartache, as it’s yet another fine social commentary from the esteemed English director, Ken Loach, who specializes in capturing and honoring the lives of the less fortunate. Here, he gives misery a name.
Daniel Blake is a decent man who has lost his wife, has recently had a heart attack and has been told to take time off from work because of his condition. This is the story of his quest to find some badly needed financial compensation while he recuperates. And the tale of a young mother whom he encounters, also looking for aid.
Loach takes us into their lives, their daily struggles, and the injustices in the welfare system in Britain today. He has been on the warpath for more equality and care for the downtrodden in most of his films, such as “Poor Cow’, “Riff-Raff”, “Ladybird, Ladybird”, and in his last documentary, “The Spirit of ’45”. His intense yet warm style of social realism have won him over 90 awards throughout his career, including 9 times in Cannes! This is an important film.
DR. STRANGE ***
It starts off with the shiny life of a brilliant, arrogant neurosurgeon, Dr. Strange, portrayed by the always superb Benedict Cumberbunch (“The Imitation Game”, Hamlet, TV’s Sherlock Holmes).
A terrible accident cuts his career short, leaving him desperate to get back the use of his hands. His path to rehabilitation takes him and us on a mystical journey to the East, where he reluctantly agrees to follow the teachings of a woman called the Ancient One, played by a soothing Tilda Swinton.
The rest is for you to sit back and relish – the magic of the mystical arts, the wonder of psychedelic visual effects (reminiscent of those in “Inception”), the singular characters he meets along the path between good, evil and complete concentration. Director Scott Derrickson has created a kaleidoscope of a ride, and a very satisfying one…and it will be continued. Stay to the end of the final credits.
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN *
The best-selling book which became a film starts off with promise, but slowly turns into a female complain-tirade that is quite tiring, and finally ends with great foolishness and a sick twist. Emily Blunt is good but cannot carry this heavy load. Leaves you feeling tawdry. Save your money.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.