Dirty Pretty Things

Rated: R
Stars:   Chiwetel Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou, Sergi Lopez, Sophie Okonedo, Benedict Wong, Zlatko Buric
Director:   Stephen Frears

Screenwriter:   Steven Knight

A seamier side of London life is portrayed in the excellent Dirty Pretty Things, a combination intrigue/love story that also reveals the brutal existences of illegal immigrants who populate the city’s service industries: cleaning, cooking and driving cabs in order to eek out a small living while at the same time hiding from immigration officials.

The story centers on an upstanding but illegal Nigerian immigrant named Okwe who was a doctor in his own country but who must now drive a cab and work the front desk at a small hotel to make ends meet. Okwe and his friend and co-worker, Senay (Audrey Tautou), a Turk, also in the country illegally, are both forced to weather even greater hardships when they become involved in the underground business of their hotel boss, Sneaky (Sergi Lopez), who trades not only in immigrants and black market goods but something far riskier and morally questionable.

Lotta says:
  This is a taut and very well acted drama that’s well-paced and supported by music that fits the mood. Highly recommeded. Also features: Sophie Okonedo as Juliette, a prostitute who habituates the hotel, Benedict Wong as Guo Yi, a coroner and Zlatko Buric as Ivan the hotel’s doorman. Rated R for language, sexual content, some violence.

Reviewed 9/1/03