Thursday, December 28, 2023

Bank of Dave: Movie Review

Fighting against the banking system in an hilarious, entertaining, genuinely feel-good movie.
Previously I referred to The Burial as the biggest crowd-pleaser of the year, so I’ll call Bank of Dave the best crowd-pleaser of the year. It’s very much a ‘little guys succeeding against systems designed to make them fail’ but it’s very funny, very entertaining, surprisingly smart and even a little inspiring. There’s a lot of predictable elements but all incorporated in a way that feels right and remains interesting.   2023

Directed by: Chris Foggin

Screenplay by: Piers Ashworth

Starring: Rory Kinnear, Joel Fry

The two main protagonists are Dave Fishwick (Rory Kinnear) and Hugh Stockwell (Joel Fry). Dave is from the small northern England community Burnley and is an auto salesman. He’s done well for himself with a few dealerships in the area and when the 2008 recession hit, Dave was able to start lending money to friends in the community. Someone suggests he should become a bank. The great thing about Dave is that he’s a lot smarter than people would assume he is. What would be a joke to most people becomes a possibility to Dave.

Hugh is a rich, posh lawyer from London whom Dave has hired to file the necessary paperwork with the Federal Reserve Bank. The London law firm, like most rich prestigious law firms, are happy to take Dave’s money even though they know it’s a ridiculous idea that is not going to work. Dave agrees. Hugh is taken aback, but Hugh just met Dave and did not realize just how smart he is. Dave did not go to Cambridge or Oxford he does not have a finance degree. Instead he watched the banks lose people’s money and then the government bail out the banks with taxpayer’s money. This movie is a wickedly clever take on the collapse of the financial systems in 2008-2009 primarily because it’s a comedy. Dave is endlessly charismatic, loves being center of attention, and yet can be all that by still being a quiet, unassuming, respectful guy. Dave is the quintessential everyman who everyone will root for and laugh with along the way.

On the other hand, Hugh is a banking systems lawyer who likes his rich London life and doesn’t even know where Burnley is. He’s awkward and doesn’t understand the small town. I watched a Hallmark movie with the identical character who eventually just switched to fitting in; instead, this is the perfect portrayal of that. With each successive visit to Burnley, Joel Fry presents a slightly more relaxed version of Hugh, it is so gradual, that you barely even recognize how perfect he fits in Burnley compared to how he starts until the audience will be rooting for him to uproot his whole life.

Filmed on location in Burnley and West Yorkshire, England, Bank of Dave has some lovely cinematography to help highlight the differences between London and Dave’s community, it has very entertaining dialogue that fits the characters perfectly, and it’s the type of movie you just don’t want to end. Each turn in the story is interesting and entertaining. The emotional elements are incorporated so seamlessly that it’s still very funny and so heartwarming.

One of the Best of 2023