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Overall Rating
4.11

Awesome: 39.29%
Worth A Look46.43%
Average: 7.14%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 7.14%

5 reviews, 26 user ratings


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Dirty Pretty Things
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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Oh, you pretty things..."
4 stars

Stephen Frears' latest casts a sympathetic gaze on London's disenfranchised immigrants, a multiethnic subculture so far removed from the mainstream that it couldn't even be termed an underclass. They are poor; they have few rights; they are easily exploited by the predators of society. Cinematic explorations of life in the lower depths can be unpleasantly manipulative; see, for example, Lukas Moodysson's recent LILJA 4-EVER, a study of modern-day white slavery, which degenerated into morbid sadism. But Frears, a more capable director, demonstrates a solid grasp of his material, and what results is a fine, touching film.

Chiwetel Ejiofor gives a well-controlled performance as Okwe, a doctor from Nigeria now relegated to porter duties at a swank London hotel. He lives in a modest apartment with Senay (Audrey Tautou, also excellent), in a strictly platonic relationship. He's an essentially moral man, she's a devoted Muslim; both find their beliefs tested when they fall into the orbit of a sleazy black marketeer who sells human kidneys, which he extracts from desperate "illegals" in dangerous back-alley operations.

DIRTY PRETTY THINGS--the title refers to the thankless menial jobs the characters perform for the privileged--weaves two disparate threads together: the first is a murder mystery; the second, an overt condemnation of society's mistreatment of these oppressed creatures. Early on, these threads are awkwardly woven together; you sense that Frears is trying to do too much at once. But the film eventually gains its footing. Screenwriter Steve Knight has an authentic sense of outrage; his sympathy for his characters is clear, and it gives the film an uncommon emotional weight. (Incredibly, Knight is also one of the creators of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?") Perhaps he overdoes the pathos here and there, but he stays true to his vision of desperate people in desperate circumstances.

It's a well-made, poignant film that probably could not be made inside the Hollywood system. And that's entirely too bad for us. Currently, DIRTY PRETTY THINGS is playing in exactly two theatres in Los Angeles.

I don't know how many theatres are playing BAD BOYS II, but I'm certain the figure is considerably higher. Unfortunately.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7991&reviewer=223
originally posted: 07/21/03 11:29:11
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/26/11 mr.mike It failed to hold my interest. 3 stars
7/31/09 ntuthuko I think the movie is prety good cheers. 5 stars
4/27/07 MoMo What an absolute dungfest. Its so cheesy and western, awful. 1 stars
10/25/04 The REAL Tornado Who the hell is using my name?? 1 stars
10/01/04 psycho dwarf Unreal. Ya might call it an Urban Mythic Expose`. But the acting saves iffy storytelling. 4 stars
6/12/04 john bale The plight of illegal immgrants in London's underbelly assured direction of brooding drama 5 stars
6/07/04 Recurring Dream Brilliant - best film i've seen all year 5 stars
5/13/04 tatum Wonderful character study with thriller aspect; Oscar ignored cast! 5 stars
3/26/04 bikehorn Some parts are hard to grasp, but over all a decent film. Tautou is very up and coming. 3 stars
3/25/04 hollywood Great film with relative unknowns. Audrey Tautou will be a major star 5 stars
1/28/04 y2mckay Audrey Tatou looks about as Turkish as I do - but the movie's quite good, esp. Ejiofor 4 stars
1/28/04 irena very unusual representation of a theme, not morbid or depressing at all, yet its critical 4 stars
10/22/03 Tanya 'Tornado' Stork I like Kidney Pie 4 stars
10/03/03 Jin absolutely wonderful 5 stars
9/16/03 Jinnvisible Bigots are starved of the kind of insights woven here. Great Anglo-chinesse porter role 4 stars
9/11/03 carlmzapffe "DIRTY PRETTY THINGS"(2002) 5 stars
9/06/03 Ahnold Better than usual BS seen from Hollywood. Rather put $ in this independent flick. 3 stars
8/30/03 Joey This is what we get, huh? crap 1 stars
8/30/03 Choadushouse Very DIFFERENT. Deeply emotional and REAL feeling. Great round-up end. 4 stars
8/29/03 eugene thought it was great. 5 stars
8/12/03 shelley stults slow start, nice twist in the conclusion 4 stars
8/09/03 Will Green 'tis good, 'tis reccommended. It has a constant pace, and isn't anticlimactic, so... yeah! 3 stars
8/06/03 Babs Intriguing story, not your typical, predictable hollywood pretentious film, its refreshing 5 stars
8/04/03 Kia Ora This movie stays with you for a long time after you leave the theater. 5 stars
7/19/03 BAD bad 1 stars
7/15/03 thejames Intresting flick. I enjoyed watching it. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Jul-2003 (R)
  DVD: 23-Mar-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Jun-2004 (MA)




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