Father to two small children and husband to home carer Abby (Debbie Honeywood), Ricky Turner (Kris Hitchen) wants to start a new job. By working as a delivery driver, he has the potential to make better money for his family however, working with a “zero hours contract”, his new future will come with strings attached…
Veteran director Ken Loach has always rooted his dramas in reality. However, in comparison to ‘Riff-Raff’ and many of his earlier films, ‘Sorry, We Missed You’ furthers Loach’s fidelity to working class realism by increasing the desperate bleakness he previously showed in ‘I, Daniel Blake’.
Working again with regular screenwriter Paul Laverty, they have this time focussed on the sharp practice of ‘zero hours contracts’ were workers are only paid for the hours they work. Without any kind of safety net or corporate responsibility, Ricky is cajoled into the conceit that he will be ‘his own boss’ renting out a van he has to buy as a condition of his contract.
Like a rat introduced into a cambered maze, Ricky’s life and those around him starts to unravel fast. In a film without any kind of levity or honeymoon period within, this is Ken Loach at his most unremitting and most pointed. From the tear-jerking scene where Abby openly sobs as her hair is brushed by her elderly charge or Ricky’s desperation beyond reason to hit his delivery schedule, ‘Sorry, We Missed You’ is a constricting knot that will tighten in your stomach the longer it goes on.
Perhaps fitting for a film where there isn’t an ending for a crisis that’s only just beginning, this is a story without answer which wisely doesn’t even attempt one. As an experience you live through than a film you can enjoy, ‘Sorry, We Missed You’ is a docu-drama couched in a real world tragedy which will be even harder to accept the next time a delivery arrives on your doorstep.