[Film review] Bank of Dave

Review by John P. Harvey.

Burnley, England, businessman Dave Fishwick (Rory Kinnear) has lent nearly a million pounds to local businesses when he decides to try to do even more of it by obtaining local investment — meaning establishing a local bank.  And perhaps the most vital project to finance, and one that a young doctor, Alexandra (Phoebe Dynevor), is spearheading, is a free walk-in clinic.

But Dave’s proposed “Bank of Dave” would set a precedent disturbing to the status quo, consisting entirely of large banks more than 150 years old, and it must be stopped.

Within Dave’s friendly, open manner, though, lurks a canny interior, and Dave has hired a London lawyer, Hugh (Joel Fry), to get his application in to the Financial Regulation Board and obtain the result he’s looking for — which may not be quite what you’d imagine.

When the Financial Regulation Board, controlled by the banks themselves, finds — with the help of friendly advisor Sir Charles (Hugh Bonneville) — a way to block Dave’s application, he must rely on local support and the ingenuity of his new London lawyer.

Filled with characters easy to love or to detest who play out a story relevant to most of us, Bank of Dave offers both intellectual satisfaction and emotional appeal, and it delivers on its promises.  Aside from its strong dose of British humour, what makes this essentially true tale feel especially good is seeing enlightened community action triumph over an untrammelled monopoly by those with the greatest power and least motivation to further community interests.  Bank of Dave will leave you feeling that if Dave can do something like this then you can too.

Screening at Palace, Dendy, and Hoyts cinemas.

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