|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
I, Daniel Blake [Blu-ray]
(Ken Loach, 2016)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Sixteen Films
Video: Criterion Collection Spine #906
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 49,292,098,226 bytes
Feature Size: 28,132,442,112 bytes
Video Bitrate: 32.04 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: January 16th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3148 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3148 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), none
• Audio commentary from 2016 featuring Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty
• How to Make a Ken Loach Film, a 2016 documentary on the production of I, Daniel Blake (38:07)
• Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach, a 2016 documentary directed by Louise Osmond (1:33:45)
• Deleted scenes (0:53, 0:25, 0:28, 1:23, 1:02, 0:33, 0:28, 0:38, 1:45)
• Trailer (2:19)
• PLUS: An essay by critic Girish Shambus
Description: An urgent response to the political realities of contemporary Britain, this bracing drama from celebrated filmmaker Ken Loach takes a hard look at bureaucratic injustice and ineptitude through the eyes of an unassuming working-class hero. After a heart attack leaves him unable to hold a job, the widowed carpenter Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) begins a long, lonely journey through the Kafkaesque labyrinth of the local welfare state. Along the way, he strikes up a friendship with a single mother (Hayley Squires) and her two children, at the mercy of the same system after being evicted from their home. Imbued with gentle humor and quiet rage and conceived for maximum real-world impact, the Palme d’Or–winning I, Daniel Blake is a testament to Loach’s tireless commitment to a cinema of social engagement.
There’s certainly a hefty political agenda woven into the script by Paul
Laverty. Issues relating to council housing and the astronomical cost of
southern property are brought to the forefront when Katie explains to
Daniel that there was nothing for “her kind” in London. There are also
references to zero-hour contracts as well as a hard look at the morality
of prostitution. But that’s part of the charm of I, Daniel Blake – it
manages to be a touchingly funny film about contemporary issues without
coming across as political propaganda.
The labyrinthine nightmare of the system seemed even more painful when I
revisited the film this week: a system in which the claimants are told
their fate will be settled by the horribly titled “Decision Maker”: the
modern-day beadle. It is a system that is almost deliberately planned to
create just those desperate, futile shouting matches in the benefits
office that lead to “sanctions” and punishments. When Daniel fails the
initial test by just a few arbitrarily conceived points, you find
yourself thinking, ‘If only he wasn’t so honest, if only he had the wit
to trick the system, just a little bit.’ But in so doing, he would
become precisely that kind of TV stock figure, that Shameless or
Benefits Street cheat whose presence in black comedy and reactionary
political gossip justified the whole setup to begin with.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
I, Daniel Blake looks excellent on Blu-ray from Criterion and is cited as a "2K digital transfer, supervised by director Ken Loach". It's a recent film and there are no weaknesses with the dual-layered transfer supported with a very high bitrate. There is some depth, decent sharpness and looks film-like shot with the Arricam is a 35 mm camera. The Blu-ray 1080P presentation is consistent, has natural softness, and looks like a very strong replication of the original production. There are no flaws to address.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Criterion use a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at 3148 kbps (24-bit). There is little need for separation - in a few street sequences - and it is mostly a dialogue-driven film. The score is by George Fenton (China Moon, The Crucible, The Fisher King, Planet Earth, Life) and supports the film gently. The Newcastle accents are extremely heavy and most North Americans may wish to utilize the optional English subtitles (see sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.
There is an audio commentary from 2016 featuring Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty from the Entertainment One UK Blu-ray from earlier this year. It exposes the evolution of the story and impetus behind the film as well as production details, the performers and much more including identifying some flaws and, of course, bashing the system and government. Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach, a 2016 documentary, directed by Louise Osmond, on the life and times of Ken Loach. His politics in British TV and Cinema and the chaos he has caused the establishment for 50 years. It has Loach and many others giving input from Jim Allen, Lesley Ashton, Gabriel Byrne, Dave Johns etc. and it runs over 1.5 hours. How to Make a Ken Loach Film, is a 38-minute, 2016 documentary on the production of I, Daniel Blake with behind-the-scenes shots. There are 9 short deleted scenes - mostly extension of the film's themes, plus a trailer. The package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Girish Shambus.
December 12th, 2017