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DIRTY PRETTY THINGS



{Oscar Nomination for Best Original Screenplay}


Odds are you’ve never heard of this film, but in Hollywood, Best Original Screenplay is the gold-standard for insiders. And Dirty Pretty Things delivers. Set in London—although without any Londoners discernibly in the film—Dirty Pretty Things is about the illegal immigrant subculture. But don’t let that fool you. This is a mystery, a character study, a dark comedy, and an oddball romance.

I go so far as to say that Dirty Pretty Things is a virtually flawless film, and if it had been bigger or more ambitious, I could see a Best Picture Nomination. We get to see this class of people, whom society can’t function without (you can’t get a white person to clean a hotel toilet). Yet these Illegals live in constant fear. They can’t go to the police for anything, lest they be deported. So they are taken advantage of. And in turn do the same.

The two main characters are Okwe and Senay (who was Amelie; if that means anything to you), and their chemistry is electric. I promise that you’ll be rooting for them, although I don’t want to say how you’ll do that: it’s a surprise. They both work in a hotel that isn’t quite what it seems. They also…ahhh; I don’t want to ruin any of it. Just have fun watching. 

There is little overt objectionable material, but this is definitely not a family film. At times it can be depressing, and I suppose slightly scary. I’m on the edge of whether or not my parents would like this, but leaning that way. But you don’t have to be a movie buff to enjoy Dirty Pretty Things. The story is straight-forward and easy to follow, and unlike many British films, there aren’t a lot of thick accents (although I did watch it with the captions). If you like movies, I recommend this film.

I can’t think of a film remotely like this, so just see Dirty Pretty Things, and then look over your shoulder the next time you pass an unobtrusive janitor or maid.


Hyperion
May 16, 2004


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