Ken Loach's latest heartbreaking portrait of the precariat

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Sorry We Missed You
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Ken Loach is 83 now, and if he stopped making movies tomorrow, Sorry We Missed You probably wouldn’t make the Top 10 of his best. Nevertheless, he remains one of the few British filmmakers who try to make a difference. With Sorry We Missed You, he addresses the subject of the gig economy and the injustice of zero-hours contracts.

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It begins innocuously enough with family man Ricky (Kris Hitchen), a former builder, making plans to take his wife and children out of their mildewed rented digs and buy their own home. To this end, he finds work as a driver for a delivery company and ploughs the family savings into a van, as opposed to renting one for an extortionate daily rate. It seems too good to be true – and it is.

Before long, Kris starts to fall foul of all the dangers lurking in the small print. Delays, losses and minor infractions all incur sizeable fines, reaching a head when he is assaulted on the job. In the meantime, family tensions are slowly simmering. It might lack the angry urgency of I, Daniel Blake, and the cast isn’t one of Loach’s strongest, but Sorry We Missed You shows that Loach is still acutely aware of the way unfairness manifests itself in the modern world.

It’s a shame, though, that he focuses on the white van man of the house and not Ricky’s wife, Abbie (Debbie Honeywood). A selfless home carer, Abbie is the one hardest hit by her husband’s entry into self-employment and her visits to the elderly are a sad reminder of the human cost of cuts to social services.

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