"My Name Is Joe" comes from Ken Loach, another world-class filmmaker with a strong sense of social and political awareness, although he expresses his views very differently than Gilliam does. The hero is a recovering alcoholic who falls in love with a social worker while helping a young friend escape grievous harm at the hands of local dope dealers. Loach unfolds the story with the same earnest touch that has marked earlier films like "Raining Stones" and "Ladybird, Ladybird," among others; and if "My Name Is Joe" seems a bit safe and predictable compared with his very best work, still it displays all the enlightened values and compassionate ideals that have become his trademarks, while avoiding the preachiness of a "Carla's Song" and the melodramatics of a "Hidden Agenda," to name a couple of his more problematic pictures. Add a hefty list of strong performances and you have an admirable addition to one of European cinema's most admirable filmographies.
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