Struggling to make ends meet, Ricky (Kris Hitchen), takes on a new job as a delivery driver. Counted as self-employed, he struggles to meet the gruelling demands of the work and starts incurring fines. As he struggles, so does his family as they descend further into animosity.
Ahh Ken Loach, ol' reliable Ken Loach. As a director, he's like sticking on a pair of comfy old slippers. But once you get the slippers on you come to discover that the cat has slipped a tod in there. Standing outside while you hose your feet down you remember, "that’s why I don’t wear them that much". The comfort usually gives way to some upsetting truth and ‘Sorry We Missed You’ is no exception.
With co-conspirator Paul Laverty, Loach has landed another body blow in the guise of a kitchen sink drama. That is, it will only come as a shock to the people that are not trapped in the lives they so perfectly encapsulate. It is very much a companion to ‘I Daniel Blake’ as this too deals with the surreal neoliberal hell that years of austerity has wrought on the UK. Kafkaesque is often overused, as this film doesn’t share the nightmare quality, but it certainly invokes it. Ricky enters into a system that is designed to make him fail, it is a mincing machine for people, and he is just another slab being fed down the conveyor. We as an audience have no choice but to watch, we know that much like life, there is rarely a happy ending.
Hitchen’s so perfectly fits the role as he has an easy screen presence and just plays it very simple, exactly what the role requires. He has a temper that simmers in his frustration and it's his flaws that really flesh out the character. This has always been one of Loach’s strengths with actors and it is a style that is so rare these day .In fact, the whole cast is really great, even when lines seem fluffed or unnatural, it works because they are believable, they feel real. The thoroughly unlikeable Maloney (Ross Brewster) is so well observed of the type of total baldy melt you're forced to work under in these types of jobs.
Laverty’s script is very tight and threads it all together. Like all great scripts, you hardly notice it until after the fact. In some ways, it is a horror script, because once he gets the character up the tree, he pretty much just tortures him to the end of the film. We get an ending that is just as harrowing as anything Wes Craven has shown.
Loach’s power has always come from the fact that he is just a straight-up great filmmaker and his social consciousness that informs but never dictates his work. This is another fine movie even if it fills us with dread.