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Film Review: Bank of Dave

Reviewed by Vito Mattarelli

Cast includes: Joel Fry, Rory Kinnear, Phoebe Dynevor, Hugh Bonneville

Director: Chris Foggin

Running Time: 108 minutes

Rated: M

Language: English

Released: 1 June 2023


Based on a true(ish) story, Bank of Dave tells the tale of Dave Fishwick (Rory Kinnear) a successful businessman living in Burnley, in England’s North. Once a thriving mill town, both the town and its inhabitants are now struggling, with Dave successfully lending and investing money to both his customers and local businesses.

He decides that what his town really needs is a community bank, where locals can more easily obtain loans (which in his case, have all been paid back) and thus the idea of the ‘Bank of Dave’ is born.

Stills from Bank of Dave: Joel Fry, Rory Kinnear & Hugh Bonneville

Knowing that the all-powerful Financial Regulator will never grant him a license, Dave enlists the help of London lawyer Hugh (Joel Fry) to find a seemingly impossible way to take on Goliath. Reticent, but partly falling for the charms of local ER doctor/Councillor Alexandra (Phoebe Dynevor), Hugh devises a clever plan to take this test case to the court of public opinion. And the fun begins.

Made on a limited budget, Bank of Dave is like its central character, full of charm and optimism. In the catalogue of films with themes about small town locals vs big city bullies, there are not many surprises here. We know that people like Dave will get their moment (win or lose), and that the inevitable romance will serve as a secondary story-line.

Nonetheless, director Chris Foggin (Fisherman’s Friends) sets a lovely, gentle tone and an easy pace unravelling this interesting tale. Along the way there’s plenty of karaoke, references to ‘Babe’ (the film) and even some Def Leppard.

Performances all-round are good from a largely unknown cast (at least here in Australia). HughBonneville (Downton Abbey) and Kinnear (NT Live & numerous television roles) are the notable exceptions.

In all, Bank of Dave is an interesting story that celebrates community and the fight for what’s right. It should please most cinemagoers looking for a feel-good movie.


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