02 November 2019 08:31

Salma Yaqoob Labour Party LGBT

Sorry We Missed You review: "Another powerful rallying cry from Ken Loach"

Sorry We Missed You is the latest work from Ken Loach, and looks at Ricky (Kris Hitchen) and his family, who have been fighting an uphill struggle against debt since the 2008 financial crash. An opportunity to wrestle back some independence appears with a shiny new van and the chance to run a franchise as a self employed delivery driver. Concentrating on the zero-hours 'gig economy' where you can struggle to simply get paid for the hours you work, and if you're off sick, you're often not entitled to any sick pay, this looks like another essential film for our times. Doctor Sleep: Years following the events of The Shining, a now-adult Dan Torrence (Ewan McGregor – Trainspotting) meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal. The film is set in 1862, it's inspired by true events, and also stars Himesh Patel (Damned), Anne Reid (Years And Years), Tom Courtenay (45 Years), Tim McInnerny (Blacadded Goes Forth) and Phoebe Fox (Blue Iguana).

After the Wedding is yet another of those 'nice woman turns out to be a mad stalker'-type of movies, and one where the trailer shows a load of plaudits from Variety, et al, but they must've been watching a different film, since this looks incredibly 'by the numbers' in terms of how it all plays out. Michelle Williams runs an orphanage in Kolkata, and travels to New York to meet benefactor Julianne Moore, who's ready to stump up $20m, but is she for real or is it just to get one over on the woman after she clearly did the do with her hubby, Billy Crudup, some time back. Brittany Runs a Marathon sees Jillian Bell continue to take the Amy Schumer route through 'comedy' by using the 'fat girl does something amazing' trope, this time as she decides to make positive changes in her life by training for the New York City Marathon. A companion piece to Palme d'Or winner I, Daniel Blake, which condemned the bureaucracy of Britain's broken benefits system, Sorry We Missed You is Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty's righteous indictment of the gig economy which leaves working-class families overworked and underpaid. Mum Abbie (Debbie Honeywood), meanwhile, faces her own injustice: as a careworker on a zero-hours contract she's paid for her time with her patients, but not for the lengthy journeys to and from appointments.

Ken Loach is 83 now, and if he stopped making movies tomorrow, Sorry We Missed You probably wouldn't make the Top 10 of his best. With Sorry We Missed You, he addresses the subject of the gig economy and the injustice of zero-hours contracts. It begins innocuously enough with family man Ricky (Kris Hitchen), a former builder, making plans to take his wife and children out of their mildewed rented digs and buy their own home. To this end, he finds work as a driver for a delivery company and ploughs the family savings into a van, as opposed to renting one for an extortionate daily rate. It might lack the angry urgency of I, Daniel Blake, and the cast isn't one of Loach's strongest, but Sorry We Missed You shows that Loach is still acutely aware of the way unfairness manifests itself in the modern world.

It's a shame, though, that he focuses on the white van man of the house and not Ricky's wife, Abbie (Debbie Honeywood). Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news from Uncut. Starring: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Katie Proctor, Rhys Stone Ken Loach has returned to the big screen with his latest intimate drama to tell of the woes of a generation, the all-time great filmmaker behind the likes of Kes (1969) and I, Daniel Blake (2016) taking his always uniquely personal sword away from the government fronted failings of the UK to international big business and its unwarranted exploitation of a workforce battling ever decreased workplace rights in a bid to make some semblence of money in a gig economy failing the working class. Sorry We Missed You is, very much like its predecessor I, Daniel Blake, a timely evaluation of unspoken cultural and national truths that speaks of an international crisis through some of the most delicately handled yet intimate filmmaking available to such a wide audience in today's hemogenised landscape of big budget and high concept films; a reminder of why we need filmmakers like Loach as much as it is a testing piece of societal deconstruction that never loses touch of its humanistic heart. Kris Hitchen plays a working man seducted into the world of what is explained to him as self-employment whose promises of going from rags to riches are told to be as fantastical as the notion itself, the husband and father of two children imprisoned to a life of 16 hour work days and financial repurcussions for ever being absent from his new job becoming an ever-increasing strain as his family life spirals out of control and to the brink of total disaster.

The work Ken Loach produced in conjunction with screenwriter Paul Laverty for the pair's previous offering I, Daniel Blake painted an inhumane picture of the working class in times of struggle, the Newcastle setting acting almost as a blanket-location for issues felt across the United Kingdom and particularly in the North. Sorry We Missed You gains some kind of advantage over I, Daniel Blake in its universality from how it looks to explore a younger protagonist and, moreso, the family dynamic of a family with working parents. Where I, Daniel Blake seemed lost upon some of its audience was in the film's presentation of characters that those not already associated with such characters would find hard to identify with, whereas Sorry We Missed You stares the working everyman in the face and asks: is this fair? To bid eyes upon a film like Sorry We Missed You and not feel some degree of sympathy for a man unprotected by the very system he unwittingly supports through the pride he holds towards himself as a man who has, in his words, "never been to the job centre", must be impossible; the empathy driven into his character and those closest to him paying fruit with some of the most empathetic narrative beats imaginable, this tale – lacking in fantasy or set pieces – being so much more soul crunching per the result. If Sorry We Missed You were to be summarised in one particular moment, it would be the working father of a family of four pushing an undersized bike up-hill and past a number of industrial bins reading "human waste only", the stunning visual cue from one of the country's most prominent auteurs reasserting how Loach's work is not only intensely character-driven on the page but quietly artistically assured on the screen too.

In 2019, Sorry We Missed You is an impassioned cry for help. Their latest, Sorry We Missed You, wrestles with the thorny issues of unregulated employment and zero-hours contracts. Ricky (Kris Hitchen) thinks his luck has finally changed when he gets a job as a driver with a parcel delivery company. He'll have to buy his own van, but his boss explains that Ricky's now self-employed, and will earn a very decent income if he's prepared to work hard enough. His wife Abby (Debbie Honeywood) is a dedicated carer for the elderly who's also saddled with a zero-hours arrangement: with both of them working like dogs, their two kids are left to fend for themselves, and their teenage son is going off the rails. "When we were doing I, Daniel Blake," Paul explains, "we went to the food banks, and we were taken aback by the number of people we met who were among the working poor. There used to be contracts for jobs like a delivery man that guaranteed you a fairly decent life, but all that's broken now, the unions are gone, and I don't know what it's like here, but in the UK, three out of four children in poverty have working parents. "So all of that fed into our story on this film, as well as this new language of the contracts, where they say to you, you're no longer an employee, you're a warrior of the road, you're an enterprise man, a driver franchisee. "So that's the kind of pressure this couple is under, and remember this is a good family, and so the film asks the big question, what is the point of working if you can't look after your children? And the thing is it's not an accident that Ricky and Abby ended up like that." At one point in Sorry We Missed You we see a photo of Ricky and Abby standing outside a house they'd just bought together, smiling brightly into what they fondly imagine is a happy future. "I don't know if you'll remember," Laverty explains, "but back in the 1980s, [British government minister] Nicholas Ridley had a plan with [Margaret] Thatcher to smash the trade unions, smash public ownership, privatise everything, and bit by bit, they've succeeded. "We've just come back from France, and people there are being screwed as well, so these issues transcend Brexit, but my real fear is that if [Boris] Johnson gets back in again, what you'll see is a Singapore-type economy and it'll get even worse, they'll be competing with Ireland to genuflect most before the corporations." Ouch, but fair enough. From Carla's Song and My Name is Joe to Sweet Sixteen and I, Daniel Blake, Paul Laverty and Ken Loach's combined cinematic output has been formidable, but there's one film that stands above all others as far as this country is concerned. "We've got great memories about everything on that film, the cast, crew, all the people we collaborated with, the brilliant researcher down in Cork, Donal O'Driscoll." Laverty also had a personal connection with the subject.