Friday, 13 January 2012

Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

At a glance:
Not sure if it inspired the UK band of the same name but Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things (2002) has got to be one of the most enjoyable and durable entertainers that England has ever produced for the international cinema tourist, although you don't read of many wantin cult classic status for it. Steven Knight's Oscar-nominated written work is about "the people you do not see, the ones who drive your cabs, clean your rooms and suck your cocks". Welcome to a London that seriously needs some cleanin up. Welcome to kidney-for-passport programmes, abusive sweatshop owners, oily budget hotel bosses, immigration tough guys and gum-chewin prostitutes with expensive manicures.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Like a foreigner's fable, some may be put off by its decidedly colourful cast - a drunken Russian doorman (Zlatko Burić), a strugglin Nigerian taxi driver-cum-doctor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a kind-hearted whore of Caribbean descent (Sophie Okonedo), a quirky Chinaman who works at the hospital morgue (Benedict Wong) and a timid Turkish cleaner girl played by Audrey Tautou in her first English-speakin role. The film is necessarily dark because of its morbid theme (literally even, as it's mostly shot at night) and you wouldn't like this if you were expectin some glossy thriller starrin Tautou (pic).
Perennial wonderment:
Can anyone tell me if that herb or shrub that Okwe chews to stay awake and work two shifts?
Reminds me of:
My England days, a time when I could've easily been any one of these characters.
Watch out for:
Well I won't spoil it for you but there's one scene where Okwe's expertise in diagnosin STDs just got in demand. Wait for it!
Most memorable line:
The black whore was so surprised that Senay (Tautou) was still a virgin and exclaimed "Christ!" to which the girl, being Turkish and therefore Moslem, calmly said "No, Mohammed". What a laugh!
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Four stars for a subtle crime drama with a little bit of everythin. It's like watchin the Third World in London.