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Sink: the great British Blake-off

Kickstarter-funded film that follows 60-something man’s struggle against poverty is the little brother of I, Daniel Blake

12 October, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Martin Herdman gives a powerful performance as Micky Mason in Sink

Directed by Mark Gillis
Certificate 12a

2018 has a new hero: his name is Micky Mason.

We all know a Micky, we all walk past him every day in the streets of London, and it’s a joy to see his story given the time and space to be told.

Mason (Martin Herdman) was a highly skilled worker but now, in his 60s, he is bumped from one low-paid, zero-hours contract doing menial work to the next.

As well as doing his best to look after himself, he has a father (Ian Hogg) suffering from dementia, and no longer able to afford the care home fees after the providers are taken over by a private firm out to make a buck from the needs of old age. Micky also has a son (Joshua Herdman), a young man who is struggling with the illness of drug addiction.

Micky reckons he has got this. But this is a world where obstacles litter our paths due to the slow breakdown of civil society in the past 30-odd years. It is a place where austerity – the continuation of Thatcherite polices by another name – has smashed its way through the services that make life bearable, a place where neo-liberalism lays the blame for circumstances at the door of the individual and nowhere else, and it is here that Mason is fighting odds that are just too large.

We follow his attempts to keep things ticking along, facing a dilemma created by circumstances beyond his control, and in him we have a new hero for our age.

This is at times a tough watch, but it is also written and played with charm. The overall vibe created is greatly helped by the modern folk music by Oliver Hoare and The Late Great – songs that feel like they should be sung by Camden’s Geordie-in-exile folk song hero, the wonderful Bob Davenport.

The lack of budget – it was made using funds raised online by the Kickstarter website that asks people to chip-in small sums in return for a potential profit share and a lot of goodwill and volunteers – is countered by the massive, massive heart at the centre of this film. It is modern kitchen sink stuff, the little brother of I, Daniel Blake, and another important attempt by filmmakers to reflect the extraordinary, immoral, horrible poverty so many in Britain face today.


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