Dirty Pretty Things
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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!
- Behind the scenes special
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The quality of the audio and especially the detailed picture is wonderful on Blu-ray (I have the DVD as well, and I definitely see an improvement to the crispness, the vivid color, and especially any parts that are somewhat dark which is a lot of this movie). The disc also comes with four audio tracks (one of which is the director's excellent commentary; the main English track is in 5.1) and a bonus featurette.
I take away one star for a GLARING omission on this release - NO CAPTIONS!! Even as someone with a great sound system and perfectly working ears, I feel there is simply no excuse for not including the subtitles, particularly when they work fine on the DVD! There are plenty of reasons beyond accessibility for adding them, not the least of which is for movie fans who are into the script and want to catch every word (and yes I already know this movie so well that I practically could recite the script by heart, but that's not the point). I love the fact that this disc goes right to the menu with nothing to skip through, but A DVD or BD should NEVER be released with no CC!!
Final recommendation would be to get it used if you can - I did, and knowing now that it has no captions means I'd be pretty annoyed if I had paid more than $15 or so for this.
Instead, we are shown into a world teeming with immigrants, legal and illegal, from all over the world, trying to survive in a brutal world without mercy for the defenseless. It is a world filled with sweatshops you would expect to see in a third world country, prostitutes, and predators of every stripe.The legal immigrant is Senay, a Turkish Muslim played by the lovely Audrey Tautou. She displays the wide range of her acting talent in a role quite different fron the whimsical pixie she portayed in "Amelie". She is a housekeeper in the aptly named Baltic Hotel.
Her counterpart is Okwe, an illegal immigrant from Nigeria, a former doctor who is now a taxi driver and night desk clerk at the same hotel where Senay works and is allowed to sleep on her couch when she is not there. I don't know where they found Chitwetel Ejiofor, but he has star potential. He actually steals this movie in my opinion, even with an outstanding performance by Tautou.
The two of them are thrown together by happenstance. Each is preyed upon by the type of vultures that haunt a large city's underbelly. Senay is sexually exploited by a sweatshop owner. Okwe is exploited by Sneaky Juan the kind of underworld denizen always working an angle at some vulnerable immigrant's expense. He co-opts Okwe into using his medical skill for an outrageously immoral scheme in exchange for fake passports for Okwe and Senay. After their experience in the London underworld these two immigrants want to emigrate.
The satisfying irony of how Okwe obtains the passports from Sneaky Juan, and then turns the tables on him, is worth the price of admission itself. It involves a very clever plot twist. The movie has a bittersweet ending but that is hardly a negative for this gem. Very nicely done and well worth seeing. With wider distribution this could have been a foreign film winner.
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Writer Steven Knight got an Oscar nomination for his immaculately crafted script for Dirty Pretty Things.Read more