But could it not simply be that Looking for Eric is a good film? Could it not be possible that people genuinely believe, like I do, that Ken Loach is one of the greatest living filmmakers? I'm not necessarily saying there isn't some collusion or protectionism or whatever going on, but at the same time I think you have to bee a little less paranoid and realise that some people actually might like a Ken Loach film or Arnold film, or Hunger.
Well, I have the rather major advantage of actually having seen Looking For Eric
, and can therefore confirm at first hand that you really do have to be a terminal sourpuss not to laugh heartily on several occasions and emerge from it with a pretty broad grin - I'd be very interested to see how it does at the box office, because it has real potential to be Loach's biggest word-of-mouth UK hit in years.
The reviews I've read all seem to be much of a muchness - a very solid three out of five stars, excellent performances from the leads (especially Steve Evets), Cantona a terrific sport, but a bit too Loach-by-numbers in terms of structure, style and narrative content. I'd be very interested to see if anyone could convincingly take a radically different line without polemically ignoring the totality of the film and focusing excessively on a particular element that one either liked or took passionate exception to (i.e. the Armond White/Nothing approach, which is usually very entertaining to read but often ends up saying more about the writer's hangups than anything particularly useful about the film).
Incidentally, my own review was written and filed several days before the world premiere, without sight of anyone else's take on the film (either printed or verbal) - and yet it still managed to be squarely in line with the consensus. And I'm not the least bit surprised it didn't win anything, though I can equally easily see why what is by far Loach's most "French" film was given a Cannes competition showcase!