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The Old Oak

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The local pub is virtually the last community gathering place in an impoverished town in the north of England, one of those places that never recovered from the demise of the mining industry. Here, TJ (Dave Turner) is hanging on by a thread. When an influx of Syrian refugees stokes xenophobic backlash, he’s ready to step up and help the newcomers as best he can — to the disgust of some of his regulars.

The word “Brexit” is never spoken in this very moving melodrama from Ken Loach and his regular screenwriter Paul Laverty (I Am Daniel Blake; Sorry We Missed You), yet the film is set in 2016 and it’s an attempt to wrestle with the implications of that referendum, a low point in the history of British socialism. The overt racism the refugees encounter is shocking, but it has been seeded by decades of poverty and neglect, and Loach finds embers of hope in acts of courage, kindness and solidarity. It’s a plain and honest account of a time of discord and division.

As engrossing, thoughtful, heartfelt, angry, hopeful, and altogether valuable as his best work. If it is indeed Loach’s farewell, it’s one hell of a fine note to go out on.

Matt Zoller Seitz, rogerebert.com

Driven by fierce moral clarity and outrage on behalf of the people whom capitalism and Britain’s government, supposedly constructed for citizens’ benefit, have left behind… It works brilliantly.

Alissa Wilkinson, New York Times

Director

Ken Loach

Cast

Dave Turner, Ebla Mari, Claire Rodgerson

Credits
Country of Origin

UK

Year

2023

Language

English

19+
113 min

Book Tickets

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Credits

Executive Producer

Pacal Caucheteux, Grégoire Sorlat, Vincent Maraval

Producer

Rebecca O’Brien

Screenwriter

Paul Laverty

Cinematography

Robbie Ryan

Editor

Johnathan Morris

Production Design

Fergus Clegg

Original Music

George Fenton

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