A lesser known film from Ken Loach’s catalogue, Looking for Eric is very much set in his familiar working class, realist setting of a large UK city. Set in Manchester, the film follows Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) following Eric Cantona (Eric Cantona) – a famous, charismatic and talented footballer who formerly featured for Bishop’s beloved Manchester United. Postman Bishop is going through a difficult patch, is single and living with his two grown-up step-sons. Failing to control his sons, his life and his work, Bishop gets escapism through smoking cannabis he has stolen from one of his sons and drinking wine – at this point Cantona appears to him and begins to coach him into getting a grip on things.
Bizarre for a Loach film, Looking for Eric’s plot could be described as far-fetched realism. Ryan, Bishop’s most out of control step-son, gets into bother with local gang members which results in Ryan looking after a used weapon in Bishop’s home before Eric discovers the gun and goes straight to the ex-convict madman. Stuck in a sticky situation, Eric is understandably confused as what to do and confines in his friends (including Eric Cantona) for advice as how to take care of the situation..
In order to not to spoil the film I won’t go any further. I have to say that I am a big Ken Loach film and I would recommend this film for anyone who has an interest in Loach, realism, football, working class UK dynamics or an interesting, entertaining not too challenging independent drama. I am a bit surprised at some of the average or even poor reviews the film has seen. What I would say in its defence is although there are small holes in the film, they are almost unnoticeable which is usually the case with screenplays & scripts from Paul Laverty. The exciting thing about the film is seeing many untested actors putting in very admirable performances – even if you might think the community spirit element in the film might be a bit exaggerated.