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With some more finetuning Bank of Dave could have been the undisputed feelgood film of the year but even in its current, thematically undernourished state the movie will make you smile.

Who doesn't love a good underdog story, especially one in which bankers - who get quite some ribbing in this film - are the villains getting their comeuppance? On that account Bank of Dave certainly brings the goods.

The movie tells the true(ish) story of a minivan salesman in Burnley, in the north of England, who lends money to the community so often he wants to apply for a genuine banking license, which would make him the first new bank in about 150 years.

To say the odds are stacked against him is an understatement and this the filmmakers employ beautifully: from the get-go you are rooting for the guy and for the at first sceptical sollicitor who helps him take on the banking authority and who is the actual protagonoist of the picture.

That's not to say that Bank of Dave is a perfect film, far from it. The flow of the narrative never quite hits the mark, several musical interludes make the tempo drag and the overarching theme often gets sidelines for predictable romantic sideplots.

But thanks to a great cast you'll still find yourself pleasantly entertained and sometimes even roused, as in a central courtroom scene that is Bank of Dave's standout moment.

release: 2023

director: Chris Foggin

starring: Joel Fry, Phoebe Dynevor, Rory Kinnear, Hugh Bonneville


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