Sorry We Missed You is the latest movie from Ken Loach to shine a much-needed spotlight on the problems that blight today’s society, as did 2016’s I, Daniel Blake.
Similarly, he appeared on Question Time in late 2019 explaining what would happen if Boris Johnson got into power. And it has. Well done, Tory voters(!)
In this movie, specifically, Ricky (Kris Hitchen) is a family man who prides himself in a good job well done. After working in many different trades, he’s now a delivery driver as part of the “gig economy” where you only get paid for results.
If you don’t deliver enough parcels, you don’t get paid as much. Hence, why that Yodel driver left your prized possession in the recycling bin on your property, and put a card through your door confirming that. That annoys some people, but to me, it’s a lot better than having to trek to their depot to pick it up. Then again, sometimes they leave them propped up against the front door, ready for anyone to nick. Other couriers also do this.
However, this won’t happen for all parcels, leading to another trip back to the same property again and leaving a card marked “Sorry we missed you”, because most deliveries tend to happen while we’re at work, and employers don’t want you having parcels delivered there. Plus, if you’re the driver, you get classed as self-employed and on a ‘zero hours’ contract, so you only work when the company tell you to work, and you get zero in terms of employee rights. Oh, and you don’t even get time to use the toilet. Great system we’ve all worked out, isn’t it(?)
Sorry We Missed You starts brilliantly in that as all the rules of the new job are explained to Ricky by bulldog-faced boss Maloney (Ross Brewster), and as he’s asked if he understands it all, he says he does, but from the look on his face, he clearly doesn’t know which way is up, and you know that as this is a Ken Loach film depicting reality, every step forward could well end with Ricky taking two steps back.
It also brings in my bugbears about double yellow lines. The councils think nothing about putting them all over the place, including in front of shops, but if no-one can park in order to use those shops, the shops go bust. They should at least have a facility to allow you to park for 15 minutes maximum. That would allow people to nip into their local shops and support them, while delivery people could actually have time to do their job.
The film also perfectly highlights the problems carers have, as they don’t have nearly enough time to do their job, and you’ll see all the issues Rick’s wife Abbey has regarding that. Elsewhere, Ricky’s son, Seb, spreads graffiti around, and as teh film goes on, you’re always waiting for the next thing to go wrong with Ricky’s situation. Sometimes, it throws you a curveball, as well, with elements not turning out quite as expected.
Ken Loach also likes to bring in a lot of cast members who have stood in front of a camera, too, which you can see is the case for a lot of them, but I like this style of filmmaking, and everyone plays their part brilliantly. In particular, I like the guy reluctantly taking in a delivery for a neighbour, referring to them as “a proper little pervert. You can tell by the way he parks his car.”
As it’s a Ken Loach film, it packs an emotional punch with a strong story, and it doesn’t outstay it’s running time, unlike a lot of movies to grace the big screen these days.
My only reservation, however, like with a lot of Loach’s films, is that while everything that happens will be based on true stories, you won’t have everything happening to one person in life, but if you’re the lead character(s) in a Ken Loach movie, you’re really going to be put through the ringer.
All that said, this is a gripping drama, and take note that Mr Loach is 84 years old, this year. I hope when I get to that age, I have half his energy.
And a quick mention for comedian Gavin Webster as the school janitor: When Gavin’s on the gate, you’d best not be late!
Yes, after appearing as Joe in I, Daniel Blake, in this film, he’s the gatekeeper. It’s basically the case that he’s Zuul, in Ken Loach’s version of Ghostbusters… maybe.
The picture looks superb for a modern release, as you’d expect – even though Loach goes for the gritty look by shooting on Super 16. However, note that if you’re wanting the Blu-ray release, it’s a HMV Exclusive. Elsewhere, the DVD is also available.
The extras are as follows:
- Making Sorry We Missed You (5:12): Brief and to the point, Ken Loach starts by making the point that while the Tories try and tell us the country is at record employment, what are the job? And what’s the rate of exploitation?
- Deleted Scenes (5:00): Six of them here, I’d include the second one where he briefly blocks the road to deliver a parcel, holding others up. In fact, they’re all just little extras, which are worth watching, but were no doubt cut for timing reasons, and like the one I’ve mentioned, they just show similar elements to what we’ve already seen.
- How To Make A Ken Loach Film (38:05): This is an extra from the I, Daniel Blake Blu-ray, and worth including again as there’s plenty of space on the disc. If you haven’t seen this, make sure you do.
- Gallery (12:10): Not the usual sort of on-set pictures, but paintings by Aidan Doyle. 72 of them, and all quite striking. I’ve never quite seen this before amongst a set of extras.
You can find out more about his work here.
- Audio commentary: from Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty.
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The main menu features clips from the film set to music, there are 16 chapters and subtitles are in English only.
Running time: 101 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures UK
Cat.no: UPB30-768735 R0
Released: March 9th 2020
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (Super 16)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Ken Loach
Producer: Rebecca O’Brien
Screenplay: Paul Laverty
Music: George Fenton
Ricky: Kris Hitchen
Abbie: Debbie Honeywood
Seb: Rhys Stone
Liza Jae: Katie Proctor
Maloney: Ross Brewster
Henry: Charlie Richmond
Freddie: Julian Ions
Rosie: Sheila Dunkerley
Robert: Maxie Peters
Ben: Christopher John Slater
Mollie: Heather Wood
Harpoon: Alberto Dumba
Roz: Natalia Stonebanks
Dodge: Jordan Collard
Magpie: Dave Turner
Policeman: Stephen Clegg
Council Worker: Darren Jones
Traffic Warden: Nikki Marshall
Man With Drip: Mike Milligan
Snapchat Friend: Grace Brown
Neighbour: Steve Hogg
Woman at Door: Mary Shearer
Woman at Bus Stop: Christine Beck
Man who won’t Show: Id Micky McGregor
Janitor: Gavin Webster
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.