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Dirty Pretty Things

Dirty Pretty Things

3.5 4
Director: Stephen Frears, Audrey Tautou, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sergi López

Cast: Stephen Frears, Audrey Tautou, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sergi López


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Director Stephen Frears returns to the grittier themes of his earlier films for the urban thriller Dirty Pretty Things. Residing in London, the medically trained Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a Nigerian immigrant working as a taxi driver and a hotel concierge, but he still lives on the edge of poverty. He shares a room with Senay (Amélie's Audrey Tautou


Director Stephen Frears returns to the grittier themes of his earlier films for the urban thriller Dirty Pretty Things. Residing in London, the medically trained Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a Nigerian immigrant working as a taxi driver and a hotel concierge, but he still lives on the edge of poverty. He shares a room with Senay (Amélie's Audrey Tautou making her English-language debut), a Turkish refugee who works as a maid at the hotel. As illegal immigrants, Okwe and Senay live in fear of being deported. One night, working at the front desk, Okwe receives a call from prostitute Juliette (Sophie Okonedo) to check a broken toilet, where he makes a horrifying discovery. He reports it to the manager Sneaky (Sergi Lopez), who blackmails Okwe into staying quiet about it. Okwe soon discovers the presence of a shady business operation that sends him into the seedy London underworld. Senay becomes lured in with hopes of being able to fund her escape to America. Dirty Pretty Things marks the screenwriting debut of Steve Knight, co-creator of the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Stripped to its basics, Dirty Pretty Things is a thriller involving the black-market trade in human organs removed from impoverished but willing victims. But in telling the story, director Stephen Frears paints a much richer picture than a typical thriller: His bleak depiction of contemporary London shows a city where members of the immigrant working class toil for low wages in menial positions and suffer extraordinary indignities just for the privilege of making a living in a free country. One such person is Okwe (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), an exiled Nigerian doctor who drives a cab by day and mans a hotel desk by night. His roommate Senay (Audrey Tautou) works as both a maid and a sweatshop garment worker, and she's sorely tempted to sell one of her kidneys to the hotel bell captain, "Sneaky" (Sergi Lopez). Sneaky runs an organ trade that is thriving because his donors are the poorest illegal immigrants, people who don't dare go to the authorities for fear of being deported. London here is not the city of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, and bustling pubs; it's a city of shabby tenements, run-down factories, and grimy markets. With the exception of some immigration officials, the characters are all foreign nationals, some of whom believe their lengthier tenures in England entitle them to bully and brutalize the newer arrivals. Screenwriter Steve Knight received an Oscar nomination for this gripping, original story, and it's not hard to see why. Although dark and dingy throughout, Dirty Pretty Things is a bright cinematic gem.
All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
After biding time between glossy Hollywood productions and U.K. domestic comedy-dramas, director Stephen Frears returns to the multiethnic, working-class milieu that served his seminal early work, with inspired results. Dirty Pretty Things is that rarest of beasts, the sort of thing only the British can produce: the proletariat mystery-thriller. Former game-show impresario Steve Knight delivers a script that adheres to all the standard tenets of the paranoid thriller, but where he, Frears, and the talented cast make the material their own is in the colorful, grimy details of immigrant life in modern-day London. In fact, for its first third, one might think Dirty Pretty Things is a slice-of-life character study. Only when bodies start popping up does the film shift into thriller mode, and thanks to the realistic tone Frears worked so hard to establish in the opening act, all the revelations, red herrings, and foreshadowing are seamlessly integrated into picture as a whole. If Dirty Pretty Things wraps up all of its plot strands a little too neatly -- complete with a very conventional mustache-twirling villain in the form of Sergi Lopez -- the genuine goodwill engendered by leads Chiwetel Ejiofor and Audrey Tautou (acquitting herself well in her first English-language, not to mention Turkish-accented, role) lends itself to the film's somewhat-improbable happy ending.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Lions Gate
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Audrey Tautou Senay
Chiwetel Ejiofor Okwe
Sergi López Sneaky
Benedict Wong Guo Yi
Sophie Okonedo Juliette

Technical Credits
Stephen Frears Director
Mick Audsley Editor
Leo Davis Casting
Odile Dicks-Mireaux Costumes/Costume Designer
Julie Goldstein Executive Producer
Rebecca Holmes Art Director
Steve Knight Screenwriter
Steven Knight Screenwriter
Nathan Larson Score Composer
Peter Lindsay Sound/Sound Designer
Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski Production Designer
Chris Menges Cinematographer
Teresa Moneo Executive Producer
Paul Smith Executive Producer
Allon Reich Executive Producer
Stuart Renfrew Asst. Director
Robert Jones Producer
Tracey Scoffield Executive Producer
Tracey Seaward Producer
David M. Thompson Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Dirty Pretty Things
1. Renaissance Man [6:55]
2. A Human Heart [6:10]
3. Guo Yi [8:11]
4. Room Service [5:01]
5. Immigration [5:59]
6. Close Call [6:56]
7. Medical Treatment [5:12]
8. Truffle Delivery [6:24]
9. Virtuous Man [6:39]
10. The Hand That Feeds [4:39]
11. Refusal [5:13]
12. Senay [7:06]
13. Change Of Plans [6:47]
14. Surgery [5:59]
15. A New Life [9:01]

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Dirty Pretty Things 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Enna-Isilee More than 1 year ago
The fact that his movie was nominated for, and actually won prestigious awards is surprising. It was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I would rather have my teeth pulled than watch this movie. In the beginning it was extremely slow and it did not pick up until the end. Even the end was horribly predictable. The acting was just as depressing as the movie. Audrey Tautou, who plays Senay, is the perfect example of this. When bad things happened I did not feel her pain. She always seemed lost in space. It was like she didn't know that she was on a movie set at the time. The actors also had such mono tone voices. Whether they are sad or excited it is the same slow boring voice. Overall Dirty Pretty Things was the most atrocious, asinine movies I have ever laid my eyes on. The directors, actors, and produces all did awful jobs. The only thing good about the movie was that it ended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Saw this movie at the Nantucket Film Festival in 2003 and found it to be very moving. Shows a part of life that I'm sure actually exists and presents it in a most tasteful way. The acting was less acting and more real. Not for everyone, but I feel it touches a side of life many of us know little of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago