Dirty Pretty Things

Directed by Stephen Frears

> > Apr 2004

Dirty Pretty Things - Directed by Stephen Frears
By Noel DixOkwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor) takes on the jobs of a driver by day and a hotel clerk at night in order to survive as an illegal immigrant in London. A doctor while living in Nigeria, this working class hero finds himself in a dangerous situation when he discovers a human heart lodged in the toilet of the hotel he unlawfully works for. When he reports the matter to his despicable boss (Sergi López), he finds that his employer is operating an inhumane kidney ring where immigrants allow botched surgery in exchange for passports. Not willing to risk deportation, Okwe must take the law into his own hands — he's invisible in the eyes of anyone who could truly help him bring down his slimy boss. Luckily, Okwe is a quick-thinker with excellent support from his Turkish pseudo-girlfriend Senay (Audrey Tautou), medical friend Guo (Benedict Wong) and a saucy prostitute named Juliette (Sophie Okonedo). This fantastic script would never have been made in the same frame of mind had Hollywood got their hands on it. Instead, director Frears assembled an entire cast comprised of foreign actors (apart from English immigration officers and Juliette) and shows the incredible hardships these immigrants face in making a living in a country they're not allowed to live in. Dirty Pretty Things is sold as an Audrey Tautou thriller, but it is in fact a Chiwetel Ejiofor-driven drama whose main terror is the use of an ever-watching government looming over our heroes' heads. The DVD offers little for such a fine piece of work, but we do get a small "behind the scenes" featurette, although apart from some brief interviews with the major players and some on-set footage, it acts merely as a vehicle to sell you on a suspenseful film you already know is great. The commentary with Frears is extremely sparse at best, but he gives praise to his actors for taking on the script when they barely had a grasp on the English language. As the credits roll, Frears remarks that you don't normally see a film like this. He views it as a simple film with a good story, good characters and people that move you without "big, showy things," and these are the ingredients that make the film great. (Alliance Atlantis)
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