Sorry We Missed You
Stars: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, Katie Proctor, Ross Brewster
Age has not mellowed eighty-three-year-old director Loach as he returns to the Newcastle of ‘I, Daniel Blake’ for this passionate and all too necessary critique of the gig economy. Kris Hitchen in his feature debut is Ricky, a former building worker Mancunian living in Newcastle with his Geordie wife Abbie (Honeywood) and their kids: troubled teenager and graffiti artist Seb (Stone) and younger daughter Liza Jane (Proctor). Cash-strapped, Ricky takes a job as a delivery van driver for PDF, a company that prides itself on meeting its strict targets. He is told by the foreman that he is regarded as a business partner not an employee and that he must supply his own transport. In order to pay for a suitable van, Abbie, a busy care worker, has to sell the car that she desperately needs to visit her patients. As the weeks wear on the two become increasingly stressed by the demands of their jobs. Unable to spend any time at home, family life suffers with Seb having serious problems at school. The film is excellent on the atomising effects of precarious zero-hours contracts on society and family, and very moving in its depictions of a couple trying to retain their humanity in inhumane conditions. It also, alas, exhibits the director’s penchant for melodrama as the characters trudge wearily towards their pre-ordained fates.