The premise serves as a malleable metaphor for just about any racial anxiety you please: the white coopting of black cool, cited as one of the reasons for the selection of exclusively black targets; the ongoing use of unwilling black bodies to perform white labor from plantation to penitentiary; and the pressures of conformity borne by the blacks living among white affluence.
There are pretty pictures, some interesting in broad-stroke conception, that are nonetheless leeched of those intangible qualities that would lend them genuine grandeur and thematic heft. As a result, they just sit there, heavy on the eyes, light on the heart and mind.
There is high public interest in stand-up comedy, evidenced by the popularity of Louie, The Aristocrats . . . the ability of comics like Hannibal Buress and Amy Schumer to make headlines and the preponderance of specials on streaming services like Netflix. But the subject has been a hard nut for narrative features to crack.
The distance between what Affleck imagines his screen presence to be and what it in fact is constitutes a yawning gorge in Live by Night, and free-falling through this vast, cavernous space you can find a few fleeting moments of giddy pleasure before the final thud.
I, Daniel Blake is a film not about injustice (which we can all read about), but about hardship (which we do not) and how its victims cope with it. We are never allowed to forget the inhumane backdrop, via the mind-numbing repetition of ghastly, subliterate welfare terminology.