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Dirty Pretty Things (2004)

Chiwetel Ejiofor , Audrey Tautou , Stephen Frears  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou, Sophie Okonedo, Sergi López, Benedict Wong
  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Writers: Steven Knight
  • Producers: Allon Reich, David M. Thompson, Julie Goldstein, Margo Myers, Paul Smith
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax Films
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 2004
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00018D3LE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,264 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dirty Pretty Things" on IMDb

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  • Behind the scenes special

Editorial Reviews

From Stephen Frears, the Oscar(R)-nominated director of THE GRIFTERS (Best Director, 1990) and DANGEROUS LIAISONS, DIRTY PRETTY THINGS stars Audrey Tautou (AMÉLIE) in a harrowing tale of struggle and survival for two immigrants who learn that everything is for sale in London's secret underworld! Part of an invisible working class, Nigerian exile Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Turkish chambermaid Senay (Tautou) toil at a west London hotel that is full of illegal activity. Then late one night Okwe makes a shocking discovery, which creates an impossible dilemma and tests the limits of all they know! Honored with numerous European film awards and nominations -- including wins at the London Critics Circle Film Awards and the Venice Film Festival -- you'll find this gritty urban thriller to be thoroughly engrossing and impossible to forget!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tightly Structured Thriller With Something To Say November 28, 2003
It isn't often that you see a well-crafted thriller with something on its mind, but "Dirty Pretty Things" is one of those films. It tells the story of Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a Nigerian living in London illegally. He works two jobs: one as a taxi driver and the other inside a second-rate hotel. This doesn't give him much time to do anything, but work. When it is time to rest, he has an unusual living arrangement with Senay (Audrey Tautou), a Turkish immigrant that also works at the hotel. They share the same flat, but never occupy it at the same time.
One night, while Okwe is working at the hotel, he is asked to check on a room and discovers a human heart. When he tells his boss Sneaky Juan (Sergi López), he's told to keep quiet or he'll risk deportation. This causes Okwe to have a moral dilemma, which drives this fascinating story of the underside of London live.
Without revealing too much of the plot, "Dirty Pretty Things" keeps raising the stakes and makes you really care about the plight of the main characters.
Fans of the international hit "Amélie," might be a bit surprised by Ms. Tautou's performance as Senay. Some might find her work shocking, but it clearly indicates that Tautou is an actor unafraid of taking risks. She and Mr. Ejiofor are a pleasure to watch on screen together.
Okwe is reminiscent of some of Sidney Poitier's early films. He's sensitive, noble and has strong moral convictions. That's something you don't see much in film today. Ejiofor's performance is all the more remarkable given the world in which his character lives in. Okwe is surrounded by morally bankrupt people that will do anything to become British citizens. He stands tall in the face of many temptations.
While a fascinating and provocative film, "Dirty Pretty Things" may not be for everybody. However, if you're looking for an intelligent story with complex characters and don't mind venturing into a seedy world, this film is for you.
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dirty rather than pretty September 7, 2003
Verified Purchase
They're in the shadows, the people that no one sees. "Dirty Pretty Things" can be classified as many things -- horror, drama, thriller, social commentary or some combination of the above -- but in the end it is merely a wonderfully gritty, realistic film that will leave you thinking.
Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a Nigerian immigrant in London, lives with (but is not involved with) prickly Turkish immigrant Senay (Audrey Tatou), both of whom struggle against immigrant officials -- and their own feelings. Okwe works by his own strong morals, hampered by a dark secret. But one day Okwe makes a grisly discovery in the hotel where he works -- a clog in a toilet that turns out to be a human heart.
His boss Juan (Sergi Lopez) tells him to not say anything. Does Okwe obey him? Of course not. He digs deeper, and soon uncovers a sinister web that hits close to the heart: Desperate immigrants sell their organs in exchange for forged papers and passports. As the immigration officials start to close in on Okwe and Senay, they must figure out what to do about the organ smuggling ring.
A lot of movie moralizing is contrived and poorly-scripted. But Stephen Frears manages to stick the moral dilemmas in the faces of the viewers and make them stick. Okwe's conflicted feelings when he discovers the organ trafficking are wonderful, especially as he himself is a doctor who could help people, but working for an evil man. Similarly we see Senay, a religious girl, in a slow, inexorable downward slide.
We see many immigrants, all with different dreams, goals, and pasts. And Frears makes them all come alive. He shows London as a city with a dark underbelly, with plenty of sinister big buildings where immigrant workers struggle to remain anonymous.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thriller that's actually about something. September 30, 2003
You can view director Stephen Frears' DIRTY PRETTY THINGS one of two ways, maybe even more than that.
It allows viewers the chance to see a side of London that is never shown, an underground world of illegal immigrants trying to get by and gain legal citizenship while trying to evade authorities. It also shows viewers a rather creepy and twisted plot involving the black-market sale of human organs and how willing some people are to pursue their dreams. The film also gives Audrey Tautou her first English-speaking role and features her prominently in a rather odd, completely compelling love story.
I was rather pleased with this movie, which though flawed is never boring. And the ending of it was particularly satisfying.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars London's Underground UnderDogs get their day September 20, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have read many reviews appropriately commenting on the wonderful performance of Audrey Tautou as Turkish Immigrant Senay in Stephen Frears' "Dirty Pretty Things", but I haven't seen a comparable amount of words praising the tight, believable script and the wonderfully noble performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Okwe, a Doctor from Lagos on the run from authorities for reasons that are not revealed until well into the final act. My favorite movies ares ones with strong leading characters who act with heroic nobleness. I get an absolute thrill watching Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, or Humphrey Bogard as Rick Blaine, forcing Ilsa to get on that plane out of Casablanca because he loves her and knows there will be hell to pay to take any other course. I love it when Indiana Jones is secretly watching the child slaves in "Temple of Doom" and he is just so outraged that without thinking he plunks a guard with a rock.

Okwe is such a character. He is a man of principles, working shoulder to shoulder with desperate people in a world without principles. His status as an illegal alien makes it impossible for him to even think about working as a Doctor. So to make ends meet he works two menial jobs. He drives a cab for a company with other drivers who routinely stop him in the back room to get treatment for their gonorrhea. At his other job he works as night porter at the kind of hotel that has an hourly rate to accommodate the prostitutes who bring their work to these rooms.

Okwe is the kind of man who plays chess and engages in deep, meaningful conversations for fun. His friend Guo Yi works at the hospital morgue, loses to Okwe in chess, and procures antibiotics for all the cases of the drip back at the cab company.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever story
This is a very realistic story depicting the plight of illegal immigrants in Britain held hostage by unscrupulous employers. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Sam Electro
5.0 out of 5 stars Story engaging and the film is beautifully presented visually
well developed characters...acting may recognize faces from popular foreign films. Story engaging and the film is beautifully presented visually.
Published 19 days ago by dkordas
4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't like the subject matter
I didn't like the subject matter, of course -- the plight of refugees. However, the film itself was very well done and well-acted, creating a boatload of sympathy for these two... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Liz Booker
4.0 out of 5 stars ... a while to get going and there are some annoying characters. But a...
Takes a while to get going and there are some annoying characters. But a great ending.
Published 1 month ago by Robert Ballengee
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite cult movies of this raising century
Stephen Frears (one of my most admired filmmakers)-The grifters- returns with one of his most harrowing concerns: the inmigration and its consequences. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised In A Good Way
It wasn't what I expected. What I did not expect is the true, deep love story. Chiwetel Ejiofor is superb. He makes this movie great.
Published 1 month ago by ammo
5.0 out of 5 stars ... did in a more serious drama and she didn't disappoint.
I saw Audrey Tautou in "Amelie" and she was a riot - I wanted to see how she did in a more serious drama and she didn't disappoint.
Published 1 month ago by Robert Pickard
1.0 out of 5 stars Not interesting
I started watching this movie, but it just wasn't interesting and turned it off after 20 minutes.
Published 1 month ago by Jane Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars A great slice of immigrant life story
A great slice of immigrant life story. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays his role excellently. One develops a great deal of empathy for the characters and disdain for the villains.
Published 1 month ago by Isabelle
4.0 out of 5 stars I will only say good men often lose their life
After the opening scenes,I thought is this a movie I really want to watch. But watch I did. I will not tell you the story or give away character information. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Carla Zwahlen
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