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Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

Some things are too dangerous to keep secret.

Directed by:

Stephen Frears

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 107 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Okwe, a Nigerian illegal immigrant living in London, having been framed for a political murder back home. Okwe is an educated and respectable man who follows a strict moral code. Trying to get by, he combines his daytime job as a minicab driver with night shifts at a seedy hotel. However, unable to watch other ‘illegals’ suffering, he lends his medical skills to helping them, with the assistance of his friend Guo Yi who works at a hospital. When he gets the chance to catch a few hours sleep, he spends them on the couch of Senay (Audrey Tautou) a proud Turkish asylum seeker who works in the hotel with him.

Theirs is an insecure existence, constantly trying to avoid notice by the authorities while being exploited by those who take advantage of their illegal status. One day, a prostitute tells Okwe that one of the hotel rooms needs some attention. Finding the toilet overflowing, he starts to clear the blockage only to discover that the offending item is an apparently healthy human heart. Unable to call the authorities, he must try to find out for himself what might have led to the organ being there. As he follows the clues, he finds himself drawn into a grisly world of black market human organ sales centred on the hotel and learns that Senay’s very life is at risk.

This fine if disturbing film starts quietly and slowly builds into a complex thriller. Simple documentary-style filmmaking gives it a realistic and immediate impact, letting the script tell the story. The outstanding cast, including British Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and French actress Audrey Tautou, are mostly drawn from the ethnic minorities and make the most of the well-written story. Although gruesome at times, it is never gratuitously so, and the result is a realistic film that holds the attention.

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It's Got: A great script that tells the story very effectively, plus a super cast.

It Needs: Audrey Tautou to master a Turkish accent.

DVD Extras No extras are included with this basic single-disc release. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10

Alternatives:

Amélie, My Beautiful Laundrette, Three Blind Mice.

Summary

Fine London-based drama-thriller that features an outstanding minority cast and illuminates the seedier side of the lives of immigrants.

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