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Movie Review: Dirty Pretty Things

Story: Every socioeconomic strata has its own language -- from the wink, wink, nod, nod of the moneyed class with its insider trading to this terrific film's depiction of London's underbelly of illegal immigrants who are ofttimes forced to sell their body parts for a passport and or cash.

Director Stephen Frears delivers a knock your socks off portrayal of these unnoticed members of society who perform the bottom rung jobs no one else will do. Working with a great script by Steve Knight I was swept into the film and except for occasional segments was riveted by the writing, the cinematography, the detail and the acting.

This film tackles an important social statement about a group of people (it could be in any large city) who have no rights, a diminishing amount of dignity and for the most part a people who have forgotten what the dream of freedom was all about because of the hardship of their day to day existence. I know this sounds terribly depressing but it is not. We meet many interesting people all who have stories to tell and dreams yet to fulfill.

The film mostly takes place in a hotel where these illegals work and are ignored and often abused. These people hold many secrets about what goes on in these rooms.

When I left the theater I wondered what my doorman, handyman and building Super know about the comings and goings of my own building of 400 apartments. Hmmm!

Acting: A fabulous ensemble cast. Chiwetal Ejiofor (Amistad) was astounding as Okwe, a Nigerian illegal who was a doctor in his country (Nigeria) and is now a night hotel concierge and a cab driver by day. Audrey Tatou (Amelie) is always beautiful and interesting in her waif-like Audrey Hepburn sort of way. She worked well here as a Turkish illegal with the longing to live in NYC where the trees have lights and the police ride on white horses (she clearly has seen too many movies to have this image). Spanish actor Sergi Lopez (With a Friend Like Harry) was wonderful as the sleazy concierge who arranges things.

Predilection: None.

Critters: Thankfully, none.

Food: Some wonderful ethnic markets and fare.

Visual Art: Not much art on the walls that I noticed -- not even bad hotel art.

Blatant Product Placement: A clock from Staples.

Soundtrack: Excellent - it did not detract.

Theater Audience: A small group of dirty, pretty things.

Quirky Meter: 3

Squirm Scale: I squirmed when I saw that Miramax was the first opening title. I was fearful that they had sanitized this film but I was thankfully, proven wrong. You would think that body parts would have me squirming more than the sight of a Miramax production, wouldn't you? Go figure?

Predictability Level: I knew what was going to happen but several members of the audience were audibly surprised -- and needed to share that with the group.

Oscar Worthy: Yes. I think that Chiwetal Ejiofor should get a nod for his stellar performance.

Nit Picking: I did not like the cartoon-like portrayals of the immigration guys.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen. For other Stephen Frears films, try: High Fidelity, The Van, The Snapper, Hero, The Grifters, Dangerous Liaisons, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, My Beautiful Laundrette.

Length: 107 minutes.