Overseas readers may not know this, but in England it is an offence punishable by death to speak in anything other than revered and loving tones about Ken Loach. He's a national treasure, a hilarious old goat and a curmudgeonly uncle to the filmgoing public, and it's a little-known fact that he was recently acquired by the National Trust, which means if you're a member you can visit him and his gardens for free.
Comedian John Bishop impresses in a small role, but Andrea Lowe lets the side down a bit as the apex of a destructive love triangle. And the film itself, while typically Loachian in its tragically mundane realism, is overlong and almost stubbornly monotonous, refusing to change out of gear until a violent conclusion that feels like it's been edited in from a different film.
Fortunately the post-film Q&A was suitably entertaining, with a clearly politically passionate lady using the occasion to get on her soapbox and have an angry rant which Ken dealt with graciously even though it wasn't a Q and didn't require an A, and the man next to me telling Ken his film was "pretty good" despite having snored quite impressively through large parts of it.
And so, having criticised a Ken Loach film without once speaking ill of the great man, I avoid capital punishment and live to blog another day. Bring on Mike Leigh.
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