The recent comedy-drama film Bank of Dave tells the unlikely true story of a working-class Burnley businessman who takes on the elite London banking establishment.
Starring comedian Rory Kinnear and Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor, it mixes fish-out-of-water humour with timely themes of community and beating the systemic odds.
In this in-depth critical review, we’ll break down everything you need to know regarding this crowd-pleasing financial underdog tale:
- Plot Summary and Background
- Production Details and Casting
- Thematic Discussion and Analysis
- Critical Reception and Reviews
- Verdict and TLDR
Let’s dive in!
Plot Summary and Background
Bank of Dave dramatizes grassroots financier Dave Fishwick’s quest to launch a community-focused bank.
The True Story
In real-life, auto dealer Fishwick lent money to recession-impacted locals and firms. Their subsequent proposals to house funds formally birthed his community bank concept.
Seeing neglect by aloof financial power centers, the small town hero embarked on a bureaucratic war taking on centuries of banking precedent for the betterment of common people.
The script inventively plays with timelines and introduces supporting characters to punch up the drama:
- 2008 Financial Crash sparks Dave’s lending
- Lawyer Hugh and doctor Alexandra insert romantic subplots
- Escalates Dave’s showdown through courtroom battles
- Adds celebrity Def Leppard benefit concert
So while based on truth, creative liberties aim squarely at mainstream crowdpleasing.
Production Details and Casting
Helmed by director Chris Foggin, the film sought authenticity in representation and locales:
- Primary filming occurred in Burnley, West Yorkshire using:
- City Hall in Bradford as establishing London shots
- Local Leeds pub for community scenes
- Production Park in Wakefield for courtroom
- Key goal – Channel working class Northern England life
Casting and Cameos
Foggin secured talent combining acting chops with realness:
- Rory Kinnear as Dave
- Known for gritty crime dramas matching the worldweariness required
- Phoebe Dynevor as love interest
- Added prestige from Netflix’s smash Bridgerton
- Joel Fry as bumbling lawyer Hugh
- Comedic actor leans into fish-out-of-water tropes
- Sean Dyche as himself
- Actual Burnley FC football manager Grounds story in reality
- Def Leppard rocks benefit concert
- Legendary band with own working class roots
This mixture of acting talent, cultural figures, and geographic authenticity boosts overall believability.
Thematic Discussion and Analysis
While packaged as a crowd-pleasing comedy, core themes provide substantive commentary on socioeconomics and governance.
Every person Against Institutions
At its heart, Dave’s quest represents the everyman versus bureaucratic machine:
|Faceless Banking Board
|Self-made success, Community-driven, Scrappy work ethic
|Old money privilege, London elitism, Gatekeep status quo
This dynamic resonates in an era of anti-establishment backlash and desire for localized empowerment solutions.
Triumph of Will and Passion
Similarly, themes of sheer determination winning out echo 2018’s Eddie the Eagle (another UK underdog story):
Dave risks family stability, livelihood on line
Refuses to quit after countless dismissals
Ultimately sways decision makers through charisma and authenticity
12+ year journey shows power of perseverance
In an age of instability and uncertainty, this brings catharsis to viewers.
Critical Reception and Reviews
With its everyman focus and whimsical tone, Bank of Dave garnered positive reviews, especially from UK outlets:
- The Guardian: “It’s a film with a decent bit of charm, and it’s hard to argue with the greed-is-bad message.”
- The Times: “Joel Fry does nice work as a dreamy London lawyer beguiled by the Burnley way…”
- Financial Times: “An assertively genial comedy based on the true story of Dave Fishwick.”
- Empire: “Rory Kinnear is eminently likeable in the lead role.”
- Variety: “Kinnear’s amiably cocksure performance helps smooth over the implausibilities.”
- BBC.com: “In the current climate it’s just the sort of jolly, uncynical British comedy drama that many will appreciate.”
- CNN.com: “A Joe-average-guy story custom made to appeal to the anti-elitist sentiment currently coursing through the UK’s political bloodstream.”
So critics found humour and humanity overriding any factual embellishments.
Verdict and TLDR
Our key takeaways from analyzing 2023’s Bank of Dave comedic drama:
- Relatable underdog storyline
- Strong casting chemistry
- Timely anti-institution themes
- Judged as superficial by some
- Stretches of plausibility
- Wraps too neatly
It is an ultimately enjoyable fact-based UK comedy about community, even allowing for the usual Hollywood sheen. Its accessibility and crowd-pleasing spirit should delight those seeking inspirational uplift.
So, for a welcome cinematic break from doomscrolling headlines about economic turmoil, join Dave and the crew’s quixotic battle against bureaucratic banking bandits!