Director: Chris Foggin
Writer: Piers Ashworth
Starring: Joel Fry, Phoebe Dynevor, Rory Kinnear
Bank of Dave is one of those quintessentially British films that takes the mostly true and mundane story of an everyday person and turns it into an inspiring underdog tale. If you’ve seen films like Fisherman’s Friends, which is also directed by Chris Foggin and written by Piers Ashworth, then you pretty much know what to expect here.
The story is based on the life of Dave Fishwick (Rory Kinnear), a salesman who started lending people money after they couldn’t get loans from high-street banks. After receiving a suggestion to expand and invest, he hires a lawyer, Hugh (Joel Fry) to help him apply for a banking licence, which hasn’t been done in around a hundred and fifty years. Hugh is initially sceptical of the idea, but once he sees the good that Dave has done for his local community and he realises that Dave has no expectations that his proposal will be successful, he decides to help.
This is pretty much exactly what you’d expect it to be. It’s a feel-good film that has a lot of heart. It’s entertaining and is an uplifting story. Rory Kinnear is very likable and charming as Dave, the self-made millionaire looking to give back to those around him. The stakes are very low, since Dave never expects to actually achieve his goal. He knows his application to be turned down, and he’s more determined to reveal how old the banking system is and how they look after their own, with how they won’t let smaller banks compete with the bigger ones. The film also has some social commentary on the UK’s banking sector, especially the general distrust towards bigger banks since the financial crash of 2008. There’s also comments on the healthcare system, especially with the ever-timely topic of how long it takes for people to get appointments, which is quite scary.
While there’s truth in the story, the film does use a lot of dramatic licence in it’s telling of it. At no point does it try to hide this, claiming that it’s based on a ‘true(ish) story’ in the opening credits. There’s a lot of fictional elements in the story, such as the grand finale with Def Leppard turning up to perform at a concert to help raise money, which was written into the story since the real-life Dave is a big fan of the band. It doesn’t matter that the story isn’t all real, because it’s still a good story and highlights the good that Dave has done.
Completely heart-warming, Bank of Dave is a great feel-good film for a cold January afternoon. It’s not hard-hitting drama, just a simple and inspiring film about the good that people can do. A true British film through and through.
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