8 April 2001 | wjfickling
Quasi-documentary brilliant social commentary
I've always been astonished by Ken Loach's ability to make me forget that these are actors that I'm watching, or that this is a movie on a set, etc. The characters in this film are so real, so lifelike, that it was almost like watching a documentary. The film very wisely employs subtitles for the English dialogue, much or most of which would be unintelligible to an American audience.
Several of the reviews I have read of this film call it a comedy. Well, although there are one or two comic scenes, to me this is far from a comedy. This is a bitter and biting howl of rage against the plight of the working class in the UK. These men are used and exploited by their employers. There is no doubt that these construction sites would be cited for safety violations, or even closed down, if they were in the USA. and the owner-managers might well be prosecuted, since their willful negligence ultimately results in a death. What is lacking in the British working class, if this film is any guide, is any sense of upward mobility, any hope, any sense that I can make it out of this and find a better life. The one exception to this is the protagonist's girl friend, who is a monumentally untalented aspiring singer, and in her case we don't feel that there is much hope either.