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Film reviews: Sorry We Missed You / After The Wedding / Making Waves: The Art Of Cinematic Sound

Going postal: Kris Hitchen plays a man run ragged in a  zero-hour contract


Sorry We Missed You

(15) ★★★★✩

AT 83 years old, legendary British director Ken Loach (Kes, The Wind That Shakes The Barley) still burns with a flaming sense of social injustice that would shame any Corbynite student (if any still exist). And if you’ve only just recovered from the heart-shredding trauma of his 2016 cri de coeur, I, Daniel Blake, brace yourself for another assault. I had to drink a pint of water afterwards just to rehydrate from all my weeping.

Sorry We Missed You forces us to confront the human cost behind our online shopping habit — all those lovely packages that arrive at our door. Ricky (Kris Hitchen) is about to become a delivery driver or ‘independent franchisee’. ‘You’re in charge of your own destiny,’ declares his dictatorial depot boss. Is he really? Of course not.

Ricky has to buy his own van (and pay to repair it), and work 14 hours a day, six days a week, for £65 a day. There are no benefits, no holidays and no sick leave, let alone sick pay. Miss a shift or go over his two minute drop-off window and he’s penalised. His wife, Abbie (an award-worthy Debbie Honeywood), another zero-hours contractor, is no better off. A care worker never given enough time to care, she’s not even paid for her travel time, yet expected to be on 24/7 callout.

Cash-poor and time-poor, the pair work from 7.30am to 9pm and are forced to neglect their two kids, who roam the rubbish-strewn pavements of the boarded-up high streets.

With a powerful socialist message that unashamedly aims for your gut, this is typical Loach territory. Don’t be fooled by the sunny publicity posters of a happy laughing family. This calls upon audiences to witness a noble, hard-working family slowly, relentlessly and upsettingly crushed by the cogs of capitalism — and deep breathing is required to get you through.

At times the polemic overpowers the authenticity of the drama but the wonderfully unaffected performances largely save the day.

The verdict

Another punishingly powerful parable from the makers of I, Daniel Blake

After The Wedding

(12A) ★★★✩✩

ANYTHING that co-stars serial Oscar-botherers Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams indicates there’s Serious Acting Ahead. And both put in turns so effortlessly prismatic and glowing here that you can’t look away from this otherwise far-fetched melodrama.

We open in India, which provides little more than an exotic backdrop to a tale of rich white privilege. Here, Isabel (Williams) is busily meditating, in between hugging Kolkata street kids and looking enigmatically pained. She’s called back to New York by a media philanthropist, Theresa (Moore), who is interested in funding Isabel’s orphanage but wants to get to know her better. So Theresa invites Isabel to her daughter’s wedding, where Isabel finds she already knows Theresa’s husband (Billy Crudup)…

Those who have seen Susanne Bier’s Danish original will know what else to expect from this gender-flipped US remake. The plot’s soap opera twists should jerk tears but director Bart Freundlich (Moore’s husband) leaves you high and dry, as if too classy to admit his own film’s silliness.

Making Waves: The Art Of Cinematic Sound

(12) ★★★★✩

MIDGE COSTIN’S marvellous documentary opens our eyes to a subtle art typically dismissed as the boring ‘loo break’ category of movie awards ceremonies.

Taking us from the silent era up to Black Panther, Costin makes us fully appreciate the way sound really is ‘half the movie’, as biggies like Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola and David Lynch here repeatedly extol in exclusive interviews.

We get behind-the-scenes insights into the man who made R2-D2 speak and the woman who gave Top Gun’s jets a secret roar, plus celebrate pivotal sound pioneers such as Apocalypse Now’s sound editor Walter Murch and, unusually, Barbra Streisand. You won’t watch films in the same way again.