Dirty Pretty Things (2002) movie poster

(2002) dir. Stephen Frears
viewed: 09/29/03 at Embarcadero Center Cinema, SF, CA

Stephen Frears is one of those known but not so well-known directors who actually has a pretty good filmography under his belt with films such as The Hit (1984), The Grifters (1990), and High Fidelity (2000). This film has had a pretty good buzz about it. Seemed like a good one to go see.

It was an interesting idea, a thriller set in the London world of illegal immigrants, working multiple jobs to simply stay alive, subsist. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Audrey Tautou star. Ejiofor is very good as the refugee doctor who drives a cab by day and works a hotel’s reception desk by night. Tautou, who was so charming in Amélie (2001), plays a Turkish refugee with a strange accent.

Though the film is pretty decent and well-intentioned with its sympathetic portrayal of the marginalized lives of illegal immigrants, it’s also a little bit silly at times. As the story hits its emotional nadir depicting the sexual exploitation of Tautou’s character, I found some of it strangely cliche and almost comical.