Imbued with the fiercely humanistic spirit that has defined Ken Loach’s filmography, The Old Oak serves as a fitting — albeit somewhat sentimental — finale to a remarkable career.
Loach’s faith in the human capacity for empathy prevails in the end. Best of all, he brings off this optimistic flourish without the taint of sentimentality.
The film is … astute in its depiction of a disenfranchised community, ravaged by vulture property speculators and post-industrialisation.
Few directors navigate grey zones as well as Loach for whom conflicting emotions, competing motives and the agony and necessity of personal compromise have long been the mainstay of his formidable filmography.