The opening credits state that this is “A true(ish) story…” which probably means there is some poetic licence involved! However, this is a very good true David and Goliath (or in this case, Dave and The Establishment) story.
Dave Fishwick (Roy Kinnear – Tanner in several Bond films) is a successful working-class business man selling vans in Burnley, Lancashire in England’s north. Being a small community it has tended to be overlooked by the Government and larger organisations. During the last financial crisis, Dave started providing finance to his customers at reduced rates as well as to other local businesses. Some of the latter started to make money and repaid their loan to Dave and asked him to invest some of their profits. When Dave replies that he isn’t a bank, one customer says that he should be!
The seeds of thought are sown and Dave contacts a law firm in London to help him apply for his banking licence. The case is assigned to Hugh (Joel Fry – Game of Thrones, Cruella) who states that England hasn’t granted a new banking licence in over 150 years and there’s no way they will grant one to someone who “isn’t in the Club”!
Hugh is sent to Burnley to break the news as gently as possible. However, after meeting some of the locals, including resident doctor Alexandra (Phoebe Dynevor – Bridgerton), he agrees to go through the motions. Being put in touch with former head of London’s elite Banking Authorities, Hugh realises that Dave’s chances are pretty well zero! It is soon apparent that they will try every dirty trick in the book to make sure this new community bank will never eventuate.
Dave himself is realistic and doesn’t expect his dream to come true. What he wants is for the Financial Authorities to publicly say why they won’t grant his licence so that the “court of public opinion” will rally against their bigoted attitude.
This is a feel-good movie that shows the stark contrast between tight-knit local communities and the elitist high-society of London. There are some lovely asides where we discover that Hugh is a mad Def Leppard fan and he meets a Burnley promoter who knows the band members well – the band actually make an appearance in the film. Karaoke is also popular in the small city where Dave is often the star of the show, and Hugh also finds himself being dobbed in to perform!
Definitely a movie that is worth seeing!
Movie Review By John Glennie