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Chiwetel Ejiofor as Okwe
Audrey Tautou as Senay
Sergi López as Sneaky (Juan)
Sophie Okonedo as Juliette
Benedict Wong as Guo Yi
Zlatko Buric as Ivan
Jeffery Kissoon as Cab Controller
Kenan Hudaverdi as Cafe owner
Damon Younger as Punter
Paul Bhattacharjee as Mohammed
Commentary by director Stephen Frears
Behind the scenes special
Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language Track
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Okwe is a Nigerian illegal immigrant living in London. Though he was once a doctor, he now drives cabs and works the night shift at a hotel for a living. He sleeps on the couch of one of the hotel maids during the day. The maid is Senay, a Turkish woman who is also an illegal immigrant. Though Okwe and Senay are friends, she doesn't want to be seen with Okwe because she doesn't want rumors started at the hotel and she doesn't want British immigration to find them.
While working late one night at the hotel, a hooker tells Okwe to check a toilet in one of the rooms. When he does, he finds a grisly discovery – a discarded human heart. Okwe is worried about what criminal activities may be going on in the hotel, but he's afraid to go to the police. He continues to investigate on his own and what he discovers upsets his world and may have dire implications to the underground illegal immigrant community.
Dirty Pretty Things is rated R for sexual content, disturbing images and language.
Dirty Pretty Things is not a movie I would typically go out of my way to watch. In fact, I let one of the other ComingSoon.Net movie reviewers see the movie in the theater so that I wouldn't have to. And with promos that declare "from the director of The Grifters and Dangerous Liasons", it didn't make the movie any more appealing to me. However, after viewing it, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Dirty Pretty Things is part murder mystery, part urban drama, and part thriller. With good acting, a good story, and heavy emphasis on characterizations, this movie ended up being one of the more enjoyable films I've seen in a while.
Unfortunately, I can't get too much into the plot without ruining some of the surprises that make the story enjoyable. Suffice it to say that there are a few twists and turns that keep you guessing up until the last minute. But underneath the mystery, there's an interesting look at the lives of illegal immigrants in the UK. You see how they constantly live in fear of being caught and being forced to go home. You see how they take menial jobs just to get by. You see how they are degraded and taken advantage of just so they can stay in the country. While I'm not one to be sympathetic with illegal immigrants, I see how some of these characters are in truly desperate situations and they are better off breaking the law than going home.
While Amelie actress Audrey Tautou dominates all of the promotional material for this movie, it's really Chiwetel Ejiofor as Okwe who steals the show. His low key performance is really excellent. Okwe is full of all sorts of interesting contrasts. He's obviously an intelligent doctor, yet he's reduced to driving a cab and working late nights at the hotel. He's obviously a good hearted person, yet he has a terribly dark past. All of this makes him a really intriguing character and Ejiofor helps bring him to life. He also has a great romantic relationship with Audrey Tautou as Senay. She plays the Muslim Turkish woman who is friends with him. While her situation is significantly less desperate than Okwe's, you're still sympathetic towards her. The rest of the cast is great as well. Sergi López is a great bad guy. Sophie Okonedo is funny as the hooker as Juliette. Benedict Wong is also funny as Guo Yi, Okwe's friend.
The marketing on this movie doesn't really give you a clue as to what kind of movie this is. If you're interested in murder mysteries, urban dramas, and such, Dirty Pretty Things is a film well worth checking out. The twists and turns in the movie are clever and will keep you interested to the end.
There are only two extras included on this DVD:
Commentary by director Stephen Frears – Frears' commentary is a bit dry. He goes for long stretches without saying anything and he tends to go on a lot about the locations they shot at in London. It's more a filmmakers' commentary than one to give you a lot of trivia about the movie. He does offer up one interesting fact. This movie was written by the guy that created Who Wants To Be A Millionare.
Behind the scenes special – This is a very short 5 minute video on the making of the movie. The writer and director talk about the cast, crew, etc. There are brief interviews with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Audrey Tautou, but that's about it.
The Bottom Line:
Dirty Pretty Things is a good film well worth checking out.