COMEDY; 1hr 47min
STARRING: Joel Fry, Rory Kinnear, Phoebe Dynevor
The eyes have it: Kinnear
It’s plain as day when he takes the stage, killing it at karaoke in his local pub, that minibus salesman Dave Fishwick (Kinnear) is a why-the-hell-not kind of guy. Not only can he belt out a tune, but Dave is all for philanthropy, to the seemingly insane extent that he decides to open a bank that actually cares about the community it serves. Unfortunately, Britain’s Financial Regulations Board hasn’t green-lit a new bank in 150 years, and it’s highly unlikely to give the nod to a ma-and-pa proposal from Burnley, Lancashire, which Dave’s sceptical London lawyer, Hugh Stockwell (Fry), is sniffily primed to tell him.
Hugh, however, is in for all sorts of awakenings. Dave may be affability itself, but he happens to have seven motor dealerships and a shrewd sense of what’s financially what. A practised local lender, he has been instrumental in establishing 150 jobs, with folders of applicants waiting their turn. There is, as he informs Hugh, “method in me madness.” And if that method is about shining a light on the blinkered greed of the banking system, who is Hugh to take the low ground?
It’s dirty pool down to the wire from there, with the establishment biting back, and Hugh — now 100 per cent Team Dave — fighting the odds and finding his voice (along with a chaste romance with Dynevor’s local doctor). Director Chris Foggin’s plate of comfort food basks in its warm and fuzzy buzz all the way. The good guys are principled and real, the baddies are amoral snobs, and shades of grey need not apply. But before any cynics start to sneer, Dave’s tall tale is “based on [the] true(ish) story” of David Fishwick, whose lending company, Burley Savings and Loans, was founded by him in 2011 and is still going strong. Fiscally ever after…