Stephen Frears (Director)
Audrey Tautou (Senay)
Sergi López (Sneaky)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Okwe)
Sophie Okonedo (Juliette)
Benedict Wong (Guo Yi)
Zlatko Buric (Ivan)
Kriss Dosanjh (Asian businessman)
Let me say right away that
"Dirty Pretty Things" is one of the best films I have seen this year. This film is being advertised as a thriller but it is more of a drama story with mystery, intrigue and a hint of thriller. Movie goers who are expecting to be on the edge of their seats will instead be treated to a moving film with a great story, great characters, and some of the best ensemble acting that I have seen in a film in quite a long time. Director Stephen Frears has created a vastly entertaining film and I'm already hoping that he gets an Academy Award nomination for best director for this one.
We are first introduced to Okwe (played marvelously by Chiwetel Ejofor) who is a Nigerian doctor living illegally in London and who is surviving by working both as a cab driver during the day and a hotel clerk at night. Okwe is rarely able to ever sleep and actually takes some sort of herbs to help him stay awake. He often crashes at the apartment of his friend Senay (Audrey Tautou) who is a Turkish immigrant and who is being watched closely by the immigration authorities. As she is not allowed to rent space in her room or to be employed for at least six months, she is in constant danger of being deported since he is doing both. Meanwhile, back at the hotel, one night Okwe finds a human heart in the toilet and this discovery sets off the chain of events which will cause him and Senay to be in jeopardy. Adding to the mystery, Okwe discovers that there is a black market for human kidneys where poor immigrants sell their organs in exchange for forged passports. I will stop here describing the plotline in order not to give too much of the story away.
I'm not sure where to begin with my praise for this film because every aspect to it is top notch. First off, the fascinating story is about real characters who are involved in real life events which makes the story even more engrossing. The fact that poor immigrants are taken advantage of for their internal organs is a dark theme which director Frears turns into not only a great story, but one that is often filled with humor.
And the acting of Ejofor and Tautou playing the two lead characters can only be characterized as marvelous. I don't think that I have ever seen Ejofor before, but his portrayal of this world-weary illegal immigrant on the run from the law is right on target. Just by watching his facial expressions and eyes, it is evident that this person is not only a desperate and pained man, but a person who is thinking ahead at every second. Besides her great looks and charisma, Tautou is now one of the best young actresses around. Just by her title role in the movie
"Amelie" and now Senay in this film, it is obvious that this actress will be heard from a lot in years to come.
In addition to the terrific two main characters, there are also many supporting roles which are equally right on target. The entire casting of this film is terrific. Several friends come to Okwe's aid: his
Asian coroner buddy, his prostitute friend, and the hotel doorkeeper. These characters are all played wonderfully by the actors portraying them and they provide much of the humor throughout the film. And then there is the sinister hotel owner who thinks that his evil dirty deeds are actually good ones
benefiting people. Hence the title of the film.
To be repetitive, everything about this film is perfect. Watching a believable film that has both a terrific story, dialogue and characters is what makes for a perfect movie going experience. And while the story and ending may not be as upbeat as some would prefer, it is still a story filled with hope and redemption. This is storytelling at it's best. I highly recommend this film.
( 4 out of 4 pops )
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