Dirty Pretty Things - A poetic film ! (by MissElmaz)
First off I want to say that I'm not going to write about neither the plot nor the contents of this film, while it's rather unnecessary.The best way to describe "Dirty pretty things", is in my opinion, that it is like a beautiful poem. It flows easily and because of the fact that the cast are such good actors/actresses, almost every scene in the film affects you in some way.This is certainly not another Hollywood flick, because of the fact that it is so realistic. At times you actually forget that you are watching a film.Chiwetel Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou, Sergi López and the <more>
rest of the brilliant cast were new to me but I am going to keep following their careers, as I am hopeful that they will rise and get recognized for the great actors that they are.I strongly recommend this film, for it is most certainly like a breath of fresh air in the otherwise monotonous movie jungle...I easily give this film a 9 out of 10.
This is not a film for those without a strong heart, as it shows in a very real way what goes on among the desperate people of third world countries living illegally in London. It shows what desperation can do to a human being in order to survive.Stephen Frears is a fearless director. Most of the work he has done stands behind him as a statement to his craft. He is working here on a screen play by Steve Knight. It is a story about what happens to people that must go to a foreign country in order to survive and try to make a living in the worst possible circumstances, just to help the ones <more>
they leave behind. In this case, the people that are trying to better themselves, as it's the case in the film, get much more of what they've bargained for.The revelation in this picture is Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is just brilliant as Okwe, the illegal immigrant at the center of the story. He is a decent man who finds himself amongst unscrupulous people behind the sordid operation that goes on in the Baltic Hotel. This is an actor who can carry the picture; he is a natural. Mr. Ejiofor has the unfortunate claim of not having a name or isn't a "star" by Hollywood's standard. Just imagine what a Denzel Washington, or a Samuel L. Jackson would have earned by making this movie!Equally fabulous is Sergi Lopez, the man behind the dirty things going on in the hotel. His Senor Juan is, without a doubt, one of creepiest individuals in films in a while. He is a repulsive man who is "transformed" at the end, through no wish of his own. Mr. Lopez who has appeared in several films in his native Spain and in France is a chameleon. He goes from one picture to the next never duplicating the work he has done on the previous screen appearance. He is always an asset to any film.The rest of the cast is very good too. Audrey Tautou as Semay, the Turkish immigrant that shares her flat with Okwe is used very effectively by the director. Gone are the cute excesses of Amelie. Another notable presence is Sophie Okoneko as a prostitute with the heart in the right place.The end of the film seems to prove there's justice in the world after all. The same system that creates a living hell for Okwe and Semay while they are underground gives them new identities to face a better future somewhere else.
You wouldn't believe how some people will degrade themselves to survive... (by Howlin Wolf)
... I have to be honest and say that before I sat down to watch, I hadn't given much thought to the subject, myself. Maybe it's the suburban boy in me. Often you don't notice the true depths of depravity to be found in most cities unless you actively go looking for it.This happens to be about the underbelly of London; and what practises are reputed to - and may or may not - go on there. In this particular treatment, such activities are allowed to continue because the people caught up in them aren't citizens. 'Developed' society prefers to deny them a workable route of <more>
admittance for many of their circumstances;, so the best attitude seems to be to ignore how they have to live until such time as they go away. Of course, the logical outcome of such a way of thinking is a marked increase in illegal/immoral activity; but somehow the people who wish to turn a blind eye can't understand that eventually the overall effects will begin to seep onto THEIR doorstep... You do indeed tend to reap what you sow.For those lucky enough to be ignorant of the sorts of happenings that take place on the streets, one can only say that this film is an eye-opener. Too often we walk around blind to the foreign nationals who do a lot of our menial jobs for us. It's not expected that we take notice of our cab drivers, chamber-maids, and yes; even our sex-slaves. Pity we don't pay more attention, because that often isn't ALL they do; and the burden of truth should heap shame on civilisation as a whole. These issues are handled brilliantly in "Dirty Pretty Things" by all of the creative team involved. See it to humble yourselves with this sobering reminder: The face you slap on your way up may belong to the same owner of the feet you're kissing at your lowest ebb.
An Urban Legend About the Socially Excluded Immigrants in London (by claudio_carvalho)
In London, the Nigerian illegal immigrant and former doctor Okwe Chiwetel Ejiofor works as cab driver along the day and in the front desk of a hotel managed by Juan 'Sneaky' Sergi López in the graveyard shift. He shares a couch in the small flat of the Turkish illegal immigrant Senay Audrey Tautou , who also works in the hotel as maiden. One night, the Londoner prostitute Juliette Sophie Okonedo asks Okwe to fix the toilet of room 510, where she 'works', and he finds a human heart obstructing it. Okwe's further investigation discloses an invisible world of traffic <more>
of human organs of illegal immigrants in London. This excellent movie has a great screenplay about the urban legend of traffic of organs of the socially excluded immigrants in London. Just as a comparison, in Brazil, thousands of children of the lower classes vanish every year. The urban legend tells that they were adopted overseas or were used in the illegal traffic of human organs, but these stories are only rumor in Internet. Therefore, this theme in an excellent script is very attractive. Stephen Frears is one of the greatest directors of the cinema history and his movies are synonym of quality. The great surprise for me was the international cast, leaded by the unknown Chiwetel Ejiofor, followed by the excellent Audrey 'Amélie Poulain' Tautou and Sergi 'Harry' López , and the also unknown Sophie Okonedo, all of them with excellent performances. 'Dirty Pretty Things' is a highly recommended film. My vote is nine.Title Brazil : 'Coisas Belas e Sujas' Pretty and Dirty Things'
Among the 18 non-documentary films that I saw at last year's Toronto Film Festival, this new Stephen Frears offering was my favorite. It isn't often that a cutting-edge foreign director who's taken a dip in Hollywood waters can ever recapture the style and flair that got him noticed by Hollywood in the first place, but it would seem that French actress Audrey Tatou is a good-luck charm for a director attempting to perform such a feat. 2001 festival winner AMELIE resurrected Jean-Pierre Jeunet from the wreckage of ALIEN RESURRECTION, and now, DIRTY PRETTY THINGS makes for a <more>
supremely satisfying return to Frears' glory year of 1987, when he came out with the `real London' back-to-back art house successes that were SAMMY AND ROSIE GET LAID and PRICK UP YOUR EARS. Frears was honored with a retrospective at the festival in 2000, and if tributes like these can provoke similar return-to-form efforts from other directors ... I can sure suggest some names!I have only two minor cavils with the film. One is with Tatou being cast as an illegally-working Turkish immigrant in London. Only the most culturally-illiterate of viewers could ever buy her as being Turkish she only makes a token effort at the accent . But once you get past this minor annoyance, her performance is otherwise excellent and a savvy career choice. Nothing like a trip to all-too-real London to avoid becoming over-identified with fantasyland Paris! The other is with the morality of the lead character, a former Nigerian doctor known only as `Okwe,' who's on the lam from a crime he was framed for after his medical ethics clashed with the wishes of state authorities. It's a great, compelling performance from unknown-in-America Chiwetel Ejiofor -- one that's sure to bring him plenty of North American roles - but in retrospect, his character is just a little TOO morally upstanding to be fully credible.The film deals with a compelling subject - the hand-to-mouth existence eked out by the huge numbers of illegal immigrants and illegally-working immigrants who do all of the bottom-rung work that nobody else wants to do in a teeming western metropolis. Okwe has two jobs that leave him next to no time for any kind of personal life -- a daytime cab driver and graveyard shift hotel night porter. He tries to resist letting anyone know that he's really a doctor, but his cab boss knows, and this forces him to maintain some low-level ties to the medical community. Later, some detective work at the hotel leads to him discovering a black-market operation in human organs being run by his hotel boss.As you can probably surmise, another painful medical moment of truth looms in the doctor's future following this discovery. I don't want to spoil anything, but if you've ever been disappointed by a film where the payoff wasn't worthy of the setup and who hasn't? , you can rest assured that DIRTY PRETTY THINGS is definitely NOT one of these cases. The final stages of the story arc are VERY reminiscent of a certain Hollywood classic, but I'll leave it to the professional critics to do the spoiling. The casting of the movie is superb ... the first question from the audience for Frears following the screening was `Where did you get all of those fantastic actors?' Normally, such generic audience questions elicit groans, but in THIS case, it seemed like a perfectly legitimate inquiry. Besides Ejiofor and Tatou, there's also Sergi Lopez in his first English language role following previous French festival hits AN AFFAIR OF LOVE and WITH A FRIEND LIKE HARRY as Okwe's hotel boss. Oozing the kind of ersatz charm that you love to hate, he's great as a scoundrel who's convinced himself that he's doing everyone involved in his racket a favor. Supporting players Sophie Oknonedo as a prostitute doing regular business at the hotel and Benedict Wong as Okwe's mortician friend provide some great comic relief to the often grim and tense proceedings. Add in more colorful extras than you'd find in a Guy Ritchie movie with BRITISH Brits existing strictly as peripheral characters to flesh out Steve Knight's great script and you've got a crowd-pleasing winner.The presence of the Miramax banner put me on high `tampering alert' when watching the movie, but all I saw was vintage Frears. And he claimed during the Q&A that this is HIS movie ... `any mistakes you see on the screen are mine' were his words. The film was well-placed in the `Masters' Program at the festival and is one to definitely be looking for in commercial release. It SCREAMS for a Hispanic American remake . much more so than EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN ever did.
Organ trafficking is the central theme of this overlooked great movie by Stephen Frears which received little noise when it came back in theatres in 2003 but managed to receive an Oscar nod for Original Screenplay. While this might not sound like the stuff that makes movies, Frears creates a visually effective thriller about the constant state of anxiety and exploitation in which immigrants with no papers must go through in order to survive.This is the reality as seen through the eyes of Okwe Chiwetel Ejiofor and Senay Audrey Tatou who work in a seedy hotel under the smarmy and vaguely <more>
psychotic supervision of appropriately named Sneaky Sergi Lopez . Both are in constant fear of being discovered by immigration agents who pop up at the most inopportune moments, and to top this all, it seems the hotel where they work in is being the focus of something quite dirty; when Okwe makes a grisly discovery in a toilet after a call girl recently Oscar-nominated Sophie Okonedo , he is blackmailed into participating in the illegal plot he uncovers, which later threatens to overcome Senay as she succumbs to the pressure of legalizing her papers.Nice pacing, occasional dark humor brought in from time to time, DIRTY PRETTY THINGS never goes overboard with flashy chase sequences or explosions or implausible villains, but benefits from a grimier yet equally intense approach that conveys its message of the helplessness marginalized immigrants feel in a foreign country, compounded by the determination to survive at all costs, even when the situation seems grim.
Stephen Frears has once again given viewers a fascinating look at characters that seem to live in societies cracks and its underbelly. This film is about an illegal immigrant from Nigeria named Okwe Chiwetel Ejiofor who drives a minicab part time and also works the front desk at a hotel. He sleeps on the couch of another illegal immigrant who works as a chambermaid. Her name is Senay Audrey Tautou who is Turkish and secretly in love with Okwe and they both have to be careful of immigration officials. The night manager at the hotel is Sneaky Sergi Lopez and he is involved in vile schemes <more>
behind the doors of the hotel. One night Okwe is checking a stopped up toilet in a room and he finds it clogged with a human heart. He asks some questions but Sneaky tells him to mind his own business. Immigration officials are tracking Senay and she finds another job at a sweat factory sewing but the owner of that business makes her give sexual pleasures in order for her to keep her job. Okwe talks to his Asian friend Guo Yi Benedict Wong who works at the hospital morgue about the heart and he tells him that many illegal immigrants give up their kidneys in exchange for citizenship. Its then that he figures out Sneaky is behind these illegal operations but Okwe cannot tell anyone in fear of being deported. Senay dreams of going to New York and makes a deal with Sneaky about giving him her kidney. Okwe was a surgeon in Nigeria and asks Sneaky that in exchange for two passports he will perform the operation. Stephen Frears has again directed a film with characters that are on the fringe of normal society. This is a carefully detailed script and each one of these characters is well written. One of the interesting things about this film is that each character is of a different nationality. Sneaky is a Spaniard, Yi is Asian, The doorman is Russian, Okwe is Nigerian and Senay is Turkish. Each of them have jobs that most of us would not want. But Frears wants us to realize what people perform these tasks and how difficult it is to do some of these jobs and stay true to their morals and beliefs. This is a fascinating character study of a bunch of people that a lot of us take for granted. The characters are all so well written and we have come to expect this from Frears. Okwe was a surgeon and exiled out of Nigeria and he is haunted by his past. Senay is a virgin but in love with Okwe and she wants to go be with her sister and not be like her mother, Yi understands Asian customs and when he gets an Asian body he makes sure it is prepared correctly for their religious service. Beautifully detailed script paints a riveting look at immigrants who do what they have to in order to survive. It's not a pretty picture but Frears usually doesn't direct pretty films. Along with "The Grifters" this is arguably his best film. Although I wouldn't call it a mystery, it does work on that level. What I would call it though is a carefully detailed character study. The performances are all exceptional and Ejiofor is the centerpiece of the film. He shows he can carry a film and definitely has screen presence. I think this is an important role for Tautou who was probably bombarded with scripts for romantic comedies following the huge success of "Amelie". She wanted to show that she's capable of a lot more than that and this was definitely an excellent step in that direction. She's very good in this film. And Lopez gives us a villain that you will not easily forget. He's not some high profile gangster type with henchmen to help him. He's just a night manager at a seedy hotel but with the power to turn them all in to immigration if they don't follow his orders. Some have said that this is Stephen Frears masterpiece. After thinking about it, who's to argue?
Casting light on aspects of society that Middle England might prefer to keep in the dark (by JamesHitchcock)
There have been a number of films made in Britain about ethnic minorities; "Anita and Me", "Bhaji on the Beach", "Sour Sweet" and "Bend it Like Beckham" are all examples that come to mind. Most of these films, however, deal with those who migrated legally to Britain in the mid twentieth century and their descendants who, while retaining a distinct cultural identity of their own, have integrated into British society."Dirty Pretty Things" ventures into much less familiar territory, the world of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants. Although <more>
some reviewers have confused these two categories of people, they are in fact different. An asylum seeker has the right to remain in Britain while his or her case is being investigated by the authorities. An illegal immigrant has no legal right to be in Britain at all. What both groups have in common, however, is that neither are legally permitted to work, and are frequently exploited by unscrupulous employers who employ them illegally, generally in poor conditions and for less than the legal minimum wage.The central character is Okwe, an African working as a cab driver during the day and as a hotel porter at night. In the course of the film we learn that his real name is Olesegun, that he was a doctor in Nigeria and that he was forced to flee that country as a political refugee. Okwe shares a flat with a young Turkish woman named Senay who fled her country to avoid an arranged marriage. Although Senay has fallen in love with Okwe, the relationship between them remains platonic. Like Okwe, Senay is forced to work illegally, in her case in a sweatshop garment factory, where she is not only exploited financially by her bosses but is also sexually harassed by the foreman, who is safe in the knowledge that she will not dare to report him to the authorities.The plot has some similarities with that of medical thrillers such as "Coma" and "Extreme Measures". One night Okwe is called to attend to a blocked lavatory in a hotel room and discovers that what is causing the blockage is actually a human heart. His investigations into this discovery lead him to uncover a black-market trade in human body parts for transplant surgery and to the knowledge that his boss Juan, the hotel night manager, is involved in this traffic. Like Okwe and Senay, Juan is an immigrant, presumably from Spain or Latin America. Most of the characters in the film, in fact, are either immigrants or from minority communities; we also see a West Indian prostitute and a Chinese morgue worker. Apart from the bullying immigration officers, we see little of the native British community.It is difficult to envisage a film like this being made in America, at least by a mainstream company. If Hollywood ever makes a film about the lives of immigrant hotel workers, it does so in the context of a glossy romantic comedy like "Maid in Manhattan". The British film industry, however, has a long tradition of social realism, a tradition that was particularly strong in the fifties and sixties, the heyday of the "kitchen sink" movie, although it has occasionally been revived since, especially during the Thatcherite era. "My Beautiful Laundrette", another Stephen Frears film with a hero drawn from an ethnic minority, was an example from the mid-eighties .There are two acting performances that stand out. One is from Chiwetel Ejiofor as Okwe, a modern incarnation of that classic type of thriller hero one beloved of Alfred Hitchcock , the decent man in the wrong place at the wrong time. The other is from Sergi Lopez as the creepy, slimy Juan, a man whose nickname of "Sneaky" is well-deserved. Audrey Tautou, however, was something of a disappointment after her excellent role in "Amelie"; like a number of other actors, she seems to find it easier to act in her own language than in a foreign one.What gives this film its power is this combination of documentary-style social realism with a gripping thriller plot. There is a third element, the growing romance between Okwe and Senay, the British cinema being more relaxed than the American one about inter-racial romance . In the past, I have not always been Frears's greatest admirer; I found "Laundrette", for example overrated, and he has turned out some fairly standard Hollywood fare. "The Queen" was a good film, but even that was only lifted above the average by an excellent performance from Helen Mirren. "Dirty Pretty Things", however, is the best of his films that I have seen, a fine example of the honourable British tradition of casting light on those aspects of our society that Middle England might prefer to keep in the dark. 8/10
I put off seeing this movie for ages because I was terrified that it would be a boring two-hour lecture on the horrible injustices faced by illegal immigrants. So I was pleasently surprised to find that it was a highly-entertaining, gripping, action-packed, romantic, laugh-out-loud funny two-hour lecture on the horrible injustices faced by illegal immigrants. Audrey Tautou plays a grotesque caricature of her Amelie character - the same type of shy, wilting naif, but who is repeatedly robbed of her innocence. The film belongs to Chiwetel Ejiofor though, whose portrayal of a strong, principled <more>
man is right up there with Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch. It's the conviction and purposefulness of his character that saves the movie from being the liberal tragedy that it could have been. Rather than accepting his fate, Okwe is constantly struggling to escape, and to help those around in him in the same situation.Ultimately, Dirty Pretty Things is a lot more enjoyable than you'd expect it to be, but still manages to deeply insightful into the plight of honest people who can't get visas. Good work all round.