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on 9 November 2003
See what happens when American money is invested in quality. Ken Loach directs a wonderful, understated and poignant film, based on true events. The largely unknown cast (though including the Oscar-winning Adrien Brody, in another fine performance, but not quite as good as his Oscar acceptance speech - whatever you thought about the war, it was good to see the advertisers being made to wait while he said his piece!)adds to the feeling that these are real people with very real problems, which is perhaps, difficult to achieve with iconic actors involved. Despite the fact that they are unknown, however, there is not a bad performance to be found, and its one 'star', Brody, shows that his Oscar was no fluke with a well-balanced performance.
Fantastic. On a side note, it would be nice, if only for the challenge of it, to see Loach create at least one film divorced from his socialist ideals, but then why should he, if he doesn't want to and can provide films of the quality of this?
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on 18 April 2008
This film of Ken Loach depicts a labour issue in the United States. Janitors who are working in the cleaning business of great plazas face a great dilemma. They live in harsh conditions, earn just enough to barely avoid hunger but the places they clean and work are for higher elite of the society. Workers want to change this situation by fighting for their rights and by demanding higher wages and social security. They try to get organised but hard days await them. Betrayal, police brutality and arrests are in store for the workers. In the end will they insist on fighting or will they give up the struggle? There are some side issues in the film also. One is the problem of illegal immigration. Every year thousands of Latin Americans cross the United States border in order to get into the "dream" country. They are usually caught and sent back, but the succesfull ones work illegally for fear of deportation on lowest of wages for longer hours. They usually end up in illegal jobs such as prostution or drugs dealing.The other issue is the disunity among workers. Workers who accepted the issue of organising themselves slowly fade away as the struggle gets tougher. Some are blamed by their families, some sneak behind their educational careers but they eventually fall back. Their reasons are understandable but in the end thay fail to keep their word. A very real and dramatic film with a worker's point of view.
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on 29 July 2007
I loved this, it was romantic yet tough, ended well, all the characters suitably flawed yet appealing, it was filmed without the actors knowing the full plot and I think it showed.
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on 7 December 2010
a terric film - as always from Loach - his choice of social dependency again hits the nail on the head. although based on facts the human element in this fast moving make the topic more endearing. It helps educate those who dont know how the underclass live, their struggles and dependency for work on the 'bullies' of the establishment. It also treats of their desire to better themselves and how they try to do so, whilst at the same time attempting to achieve status quo. well done to director and actors who managed to bring this to life, with added sympathetic insight into the associated emotions, including pathos and comedic.
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on 29 May 2014
Spoilt just a little by an unnecessary romantic frisson between two of the leads, and a touch hackneyed at times, but for the most part an excellent and moving film about a serious issue rarely given the time of day by the superficiality of Hollywood and its concentration on all matters other than those of any substance. Well done yet again to Ken Loach for making such a film, especially in America
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on 28 June 2005
Having first watched this film as part of a BA (HONS) Social Work Degree course I found, as did the rest of the tutor group, that it portrays the struggle of working class people in pursuit of equality against a backdrop of corporate bullying and authoritarian control. Though it doesn't match the Hollywood grandour of popular epics (the special effects are sadly lacking and love scenes are non existant) it does provoke thought and is an essential tool for anyone undertaking Groupwork as part of their social work training. It shows a passion for change that is sadly lacking today.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 October 2012
You have to admire good, worthy Ken Loach. Always admirable in motive and honest depiction, he is Britain's true indie maverick.

However, when he moved this production and story to L.A., even I felt a bit cheated and I'm sure a few lost allegiance for the director. But, just because it (at least at first) seems to lacks the kaleidoscope of colourful characters that we can identify with when he's shooting on home soil, it's about the people and in this case, Mexican workers employed illegally by a large non-union contractor as office cleaners.

I've heard of Americans requiring subtitles in order to decipher a thick Glaswegian accent and here we experience lots of subtitles, as much of the dialogue, from a largely amateur cast, is in Spanish. We, who're used to such soon get used to this but it's all a slight barrier and uphill struggle before we feel submersed into the story.

The story itself won't be recited around campfires for years to come and the dialogue is more of your typical bitty everyday conversation than the lovingly crafted screenplays that win awards. The filming, often in similar looking corridors and offices hardly allows for creativity either, but as Mr Loach is the nearest we have to the simplistic approach to the Scandinavian 'Dogme' movement, this comes as no surprise.

A charismatic Adrien Brody drops his Oscar winning stature to play a 'Justice For Janitors' unionist and at first we see him hiding around workplaces where he is definitely not welcome. He soon gets on the case of two young women, recently taken on as cleaners but have families to support.

Like more locally grown Loach's, there's lots of often grating arguing, raised voices, splashes of humour plus that all-important social message. We, or at least I, perhaps wrongly, however, cannot quite warm to the campaign as much as I do with a British Ken Loach film and like the characters themselves, feel somewhat alienated from both them and their plight.

So, far from Ken's best but still not bad.
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on 27 March 2015
excellent value and quality
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on 25 November 2014
Yeah buoy!
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on 8 April 2009
I purchased this film for our local film club. Although I did not watch the film myself, the people who did go the film were very happy with the film.
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