Bank of Dave
August 30th, 2023
MOVIE: BANK OF DAVE
STARRING: RORY KINNEAR, JOEL FRY, PHOEBE DYNEVOR, HUGH BONNEVILLE
DIRECTED BY: CHRIS FOGGIN
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
Some stories are better suited for a sweet, puffy human interest story, and not for a full-length feature film. The unfortunate part about being cynical is that it isn’t very fair to judge a kind-hearted movie such as Bank of Dave, but the reality is that this cold heart isn’t moved by much these days. Director Chris Foggin has put together a kind cast of actors to tell this true story about Dave Fishwick, a nice man with the courage to take on big banks, hoping to establish his own bank that would think about the people first and the money second. Some will gravitate to the warmth of a movie like this but Bank of Dave is painfully cheesy and not worth enough to withdraw.
Our title Dave is played by Rory Kinnear (an actor who deserved more love for his work in Men). He lives in the small neighborly London town called Burnley, where most of the town enjoys a pint at the pub, and everyone joins in on singing karaoke with one another. Everyone knows Dave and it’s not just because he’s a local, but because he has provided loans to countless amounts of people in the village. Maureen (Cathy Tyson) was in need of medical support so Dave helped out with bills. Anyone want to start a new business? Just see Dave and he can help. If the bank refuses a loan there is always Dave to help. So the idea creeps into his head that he should start his own bank, doing it a legitimate way, but cutting through the red tape of the banking system is an uphill climb, so Dave will go.
This is where Hugh (Joel Fry from Cruella) arrives as the lucky person assigned to Dave’s request. At first, he thinks this idea is a joke, a way to spark change in the banking industry, but he quickly can see Dave’s intentions are true. The two enjoy conversations, one man from the big city of London and another in the small town of Burley, and soon Hugh can see that these people need someone like Dave. The big banks would just take advantage of them and so the goal becomes to make the Bank of Dave a reality. What Hugh finds along the way is love, friendship, and a big heart to make the banking commission look like the good guys. At least for a little while.
In terms of narrative structure, there’s not much about Bank of Dave that thrills or excites. The direction from Foggins, working off a brisk screenplay by Piers Ashworth, is equal to a TV movie, no matter how much the cast can elevate the material. Two other subplots land equally flat. Hugh becomes cozy with Dave’s friend Alexandra (Phoebe Dynevor), a nurse he meets in the local clinic, and another person who tells Hugh about Dave’s generosity. She’s also the love interest of the new guy in town. The other oddly placed subplot is when friends organize a charity concert for Dave, receiving help from the band Def Leppard, and allowing the song choices to be all Def Leppard all the time. Although the thought is cool, the appearance of the band is off-putting and as equally cheesy as the rest of the film.
What ultimately happens is that Bank of Dave is too cute, much too sweet, and lacking in any real emotional heft. Unlike a big sack of cash, this thing is incredibly light, often neither funny nor romantic enough. It makes for a great story to read in the newspaper or the last segment on your local news station. Bank of Dave hopes you have a soft spot and are excited for another classic case of the little guy going against the giant. I just wasn’t falling for any of that. I guess you could say that my heart is just too bankrupt.
BANK OF DAVE IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS FRIDAY AUGUST 25TH, 2023
Written by: Leo Brady