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I, Daniel Blake

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • I, Daniel Blake exposes flaws in socialized welfare, highlighting government's power to restrict benefits.

    I, Daniel Blake Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Criterion's Blu-ray release of 'I, Daniel Blake,' supervised by Ken Loach in 1080p and 1.85:1 ratio, features a 2K transfer, natural lighting, subtle colors, and a clear 5.1 soundtrack, but is Region-A locked.

  • Audio
  • I, Daniel Blake's Blu-ray features English DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio with modest dynamics and clean dialog, though thick accents may necessitate optional SDH subtitles.

  • Extra
  • Features on 'I, Daniel Blake' include original trailer, deleted scenes, insightful documentaries on Ken Loach, and an audio commentary, exploring social crises and filmmaking.

  • Movie
  • I, Daniel Blake (2016) by Ken Loach, a distressing tale on UK's failing welfare system, reveals both systemic flaws and individual struggles, spotlighting the real-life crisis with compelling performances.

    Video: 75

    Ken Loach's acclaimed film, "I, Daniel Blake," has been meticulously transferred to Blu-ray, courtesy of the Criterion Collection, showcasing its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and utilizing an MPEG-4 AVC encoding for a 1080p resolution. The digital transfer's provenance is noteworthy, having been supervised by Loach himself and derived from a 2K resolution scan of the 35mm original camera negative, using a Northlight film scanner. The commitment to preserving the film's visual integrity extends to the final color correction, conducted on Baselight, ensuring that the Blu-ray presentation remains true to the director's vision. Additionally, the audio component has received equally careful treatment, with the 5.1 soundtrack remastered from the original digital audio master files using Pro Tools HD, ensuring an immersive auditory experience.

    The picture quality on this release excels in maintaining the film's intended aesthetic, particularly Loach's distinctive use of natural lighting, which imposes some variability in depth and clarity but contributes to the film's authenticity and emotional impact. Despite these minor fluctuations, the Blu-ray delivers exceptional delineation and fluid motion, with a color balance that leans toward cooler, yet still natural primaries and nuances—an intentional choice that reflects the film’s thematic tones. Notably, the release is free from digital anomalies, evidencing excellent image stability and a clean transfer process. The meticulous attention to detail in the video transfer and color grading, overseen by colorist Gareth Spensley at Molinare, London, underpins the Blu-ray’s fidelity to Loach's directorial vision.

    Prospective viewers should be aware that this is a Region-A locked Blu-ray release, necessitating a compatible Region-A or Region-Free Blu-ray player for playback. This technical specification underscores the Blu-ray's targeted demographic and ensures that collectors and enthusiasts are equipped to appreciate this cinematic piece as intended. The dedicated effort in preserving the film’s original visual and auditory essence makes this release a commendable addition to any cinephile's collection, capturing the stark realism and emotional depth of "I, Daniel Blake" with remarkable clarity and nuance.

    Audio: 75

    The Blu-ray release of "I, Daniel Blake" features an exclusive English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, accompanied by optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. This choice illustrates a commitment to delivering the film's audio with clarity and high definition, ensuring that viewers receive a premium audio experience. However, the presentation adheres to the stylistic nuances typical of Ken Loach's directorial approach, focusing primarily on the authenticity and naturalistic quality of sounds rather than engineered dynamism commonly found in action-heavy films. As a result, the audio landscape of "I, Daniel Blake" remains faithfully grounded, prioritizing organic soundscapes and dialogue.

    Within the sound design's framework, the film exhibits a reserved dynamic range that showcases its modest yet effective use of ambient sounds to enhance the narrative's emotional depth and realism. While the lack of significant surround movement might be noticed by audiophiles accustomed to a more aggressive spatial audio experience, it's clear that this approach is deliberately chosen to complement the film's storytelling style. The dialogue is crisp and well-balanced within the mix, ensuring that every word is discernible. However, given the authentic portrayal of characters and regional accents, some viewers might find themselves relying on the provided English SDH subtitles to fully grasp every line. This inclusion of subtitles is a thoughtful addition, catering to a wider audience and reinforcing the accessibility of the film's poignant narrative through its audio presentation.

    Extra: 65

    The Blu-Ray extras of "I, Daniel Blake" offer a comprehensive and enriching deep dive into not only the film's creation but also the illustrious career of its director, Ken Loach. The collection begins with an original U.S. trailer, providing a concise preview of the film's emotional and social depth. Following this, eight deleted scenes offer additional context and character development that didn't make the final cut, inviting viewers to ponder what might have been. Two documentary films, "Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach" and "How to Make a Ken Loach Film," delve into Loach's filmmaking philosophy and the meticulous production process behind "I, Daniel Blake," enhanced by insights from the cast and crew. Further immersion comes through an audio commentary with Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty, discussing the film's themes and their relevance to the UK's social crisis. An illustrated leaflet with an essay rounds out the extras, providing critical perspective on the film's place within Loach's oeuvre and its authentic portrayal of working-class struggles.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Old Trailer: Original U.S. trailer for "I, Daniel Blake."
    • Deleted Scenes: A collection of scenes omitted from the final version of "I, Daniel Blake."
    • Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach: A documentary exploring Ken Loach's career and legacy.
    • How to Make a Ken Loach Film: A documentary detailing the production history of "I, Daniel Blake."
    • Commentary: Audio commentary featuring director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty.
    • Leaflet: An illustrated leaflet with critic Girish Shambu's essay "An Authentic Cinema" and technical credits.

    Movie: 65

    Ken Loach's "I, Daniel Blake," presented on Blu-ray by Criterion in 2016, maintains its poignant and excruciating tale of systemic failure within the UK’s welfare system. Adorned with high-quality visuals and the original English audio, the film comes with optional English SDH subtitles, ensuring it remains accessible to a wider audience. The Blu-ray edition is region-A locked but compensates with an array of special features including a critical documentary on Loach, deleted scenes, and a vibrant commentary by Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty, enhancing the viewing experience beyond the movie itself.

    The narrative unfolds around Dave Johns’ character, Daniel Blake, who navigates the bureaucratic nightmare of the UK’s social benefits system following a heart attack that leaves him unable to work. The film intricately showcases the paradox within a government's promise of welfare and protection to its citizens against its power to withdraw these very benefits. Johns’ performance is riveting as he portrays a man’s descent into despair and indignation, mirrored by Hayley Squires’ compelling role as a struggling single mother. Their journey reveals not only the personal toll of systemic apathy but also resonates with a broader critique of political incompetency and social injustice.

    Through "I, Daniel Blake," Loach delivers a scathing indictment of Britain's social welfare policies, wrapped in a visual quality that ensures the message is not lost in translation to home viewing. The Criterion Blu-ray edition not only immortalizes this tragic yet essential story but also invites audiences to delve deeper into the socio-political discussions it ignites. With its technical excellence and substantive extras, this release is indispensable for those who cherish cinema that challenges and provokes.

    Total: 65

    Ken Loach's film "I, Daniel Blake" is masterfully captured in the Criterion Collection’s Blu-Ray release, offering a piercing critique of the UK's welfare system that may challenge those in the US advocating for a similar approach to social welfare. The movie presents a narrative rich in emotional depth and realism, tearing down the facade of an infallible government-provided safety net. This exploration isn't novel, reminiscent of historical precedents set by former Soviet Bloc countries, highlighting the inherent risks in granting the government the power to both bestow and withhold benefits. Through the ordeal of Daniel Blake, who faces a Kafkaesque struggle with bureaucracy following a heart attack, the film eloquently argues against the notion of an omnipotent government as the sole provider of social security.

    The technical presentation of this release is equally impressive. Criterion's Blu-Ray edition is derived from a 2K master, meticulously overseen by Loach himself, ensuring that both the visual and thematic clarity of his vision is uncompromised. This attention to detail elevates the viewing experience, inviting audiences to delve into the film's meticulous narrative and aesthetic composition. The Blu-Ray edition encapsulates the director’s unfiltered vision, providing an immersive viewing experience that amplifies the film’s socio-political commentary.

    In conclusion, "I, Daniel Blake" on Blu-Ray is not just a cinematic experience; it is a profound social commentary encapsulated in an exceptional visual format. Criterion's release does justice to Loach's masterpiece through a high-quality 2K master, enhancing the film's powerful message about the pitfalls of relying on government for social welfare. This Blu-Ray edition is highly recommended for those seeking to engage with a thought-provoking narrative that challenges conventional views on social safety nets, delivered in an unparalleled technical presentation.