The latest Netflix Britflick ‘Bank of Dave‘ is based on a true story, but so very, very loosely based that not even the blurb on the Netflix page mentions that. Still, it’s a pleasant enough diversion for an hour and a half.
The story focuses on Burnley businessman Dave Fishwick (Rory Kinnear) and his battle to set up the first new British bank in over a century. In the wake of the financial crash of 2008, he takes it upon himself to act as a lender to local businesses. His work comes to the notice of the fat cats in charge of the existing banks who try to shut him down, personified by the breathtakingly posh Sir Charles de Bligh (Hugh Bonneville).
He’s assisted in this endeavour by young London lawyer Hugh (Joel Fry) who has to cope with being a fish out of water in the Lancashire town while gradually falling for Dave’s no-nonsense niece Alexandra, played by Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor. Their efforts capture the imagination of the UK and even result in a stadium concert by Dave’s favourite band Def Leppard to raise funds for the bank launch.
And The Actual True Bits Of That…
Errm, well, Dave Fishwick is a real guy. Other than that, no, none of that happened.
To quote Leonard Nimoy in the classic Simpsons episode “The Springfield Files“, ” It’s all lies. But they’re entertaining lies. And in the end, isn’t that the real truth? The answer, is no.”
Worth Watching Though?
Bank Of Dave is one of those films where you know exactly which films they used in the pitch meeting. “It’s a bit like The Full Monty/Fisherman’s Friends/Calendar Girls” There’s almost no part of it that you haven’t seen before. The gruff but warm northern village folk who all know and look after each other. (Burnley is a town of 70 000 people, but fine) The awkwardly charming manchild a la Hugh Grant throughout the 90s. (Joel Fry’s character is even CALLED Hugh, just to make sure we get it) The joyful musical performance at the end…
The movie’s not-so-secret weapon is its title character. Rory Kinnear is an extraordinarily underrated actor, or as underrated as one can be with an Olivier award on their mantelpiece. Dave comes across as a thoroughly decent chap and Kinnear gives some excellent speeches on the themes of community versus big business. The film could really use a little more of his righteous anger if anything. The system Dave is railing against IS run by an absolute shower of b***ards and the financial crash didn’t rein them in one little bit.
Ultimately, Bank Of Dave uses Dave Fishwick’s story to hang a romcom off. The rom-com isn’t a bad one and your mum will probably like it, but it’s not really interested in telling the actual events, which is a bit of a shame.
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Bank Of Dave is now streaming on Netflix.