Synopsis by Jonathan Crow
Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Loach follows up on his 2000 opus Bread and Roses about a Los Angeles janitors' strike with this drama about the privatization of British Rail. Set in South Yorkshire, the film opens with familiar British Rail sign being replaced with a shiny new one reading "East Midland Infrastructure." For a group of men working at a local train station, this subtle change ends up meaning that their lives have irrevocably changed. When they learn the grim details of this privatization, their chummy sense of community begins to splinter and fall apart. Under the new regime, the customer comes first. While on paper this sounds great, in reality this new arrangement is implemented haphazardly, resulting in bitter fighting and political backstabbing. Some from the old group take the company's severance package while others soldier on. This film was screened in the 2001 Toronto Film Festival.
labor-relations, privatization, railroad, railroad-industry