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Movie Review: Dirty Pretty Things

An at times disturbing, touching, and clever film about immigrants in England. More to the point, it's about how immigrants (both legal and illegal) are taken advantage of and abused. Kick 'em while they're down, you know?

Senay and Okwe both work at a fancy hotel, two of many out-of-country workers. I'm assuming they like to hire immigrants not only because they can pay them less, but so they can blackmail them into doing what they want, otherwise they face deportation or prison, or both. Okwe is there illegally, therefore he doesn't have a passport and if he gets caught, well...Senay, a girl from Turkey, is there legally, although I was never completely sure what her circumstances were. She has a little apartment behind a store, and she lets Okwe sleep on her couch since he has nowhere else to go. She isn't allowed to have a job, which she does because she needs money, and she isn't allowed to harbor an illegal immigrant, which she is. She could go to prison for either of these.

Things go downhill for both of them pretty fast. There are a handful of shady things going on in the hotel, and Okwe, one of the most genuinely nice people you will ever see, wants to know what's going on...which is very natural considering what he finds jammed in one of the hotel room toilets. Let's just say, EW.

It's a very dark story, and it's superbly acted, especially by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Okwe. I'm not often impressed by an actor and the character they're playing. I'm also a fan of Audrey Tautou. I've seen a few of her films. I'm only guessing that she did a good job with the Turkish accent, since I have no idea what it is supposed to sound like. No matter. I liked her in this. It's well cast all around.

There is some fairly explicit sexual content, and not all of it is completely consensual.

Good movie, and I like the ending

My grade: B+


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