Okwe is an illegal Nigerian immigrant leading a hard life and struggling to survive in London's underground. He works as a hotel receptionist in the night time and as he has a doctor degree he practices some medicine, during the day, in a very odd way. Besides that he must constantly escape from Immigration officers. One day Okwe discovers by chance an illegal scheme of surgeries is being lead by Juan, his boss in the hotel. Juan quickly comes up with a tempting proposal: if Okwe accepts to perform the illegal surgeries he makes a lot of money and gets legalized situation in the U.K. Can Okwe keep his moral values intact?Written by
Flawless--deep, exciting, sad, funny, and elegantly photographed
Dirty Pretty Things (2002)
I saw this years ago, maybe when it first came out, and know I liked it. And I think I liked it even more this time. Always a good sign when a movie lasts.
What works most is the beautiful filming and pace, and the steady, thoughtful, rather masterful performance by the lead man, Chiwetel Ejiofor. The plot grows in strangeness, but never leaving the edgy reality of immigrant rich London, all modern and contradictory in the best cinematic ways.
Director Stephen Frears has a "checkered" career some real duds, and some stellar movies. This is one of the stellar ones. The way he lets a series of plots and a variety of locations interweave through the central point of both—the Baltic Hotel— makes for a rich and integrated experience. It's smart but also artful. This is, despite all the police harassment, struggle to make ends meet, and macabre organ marketeering, a really beautiful movie. So in every way it engages.
For contractual reasons, Audrey Tautou is the leading name on the credits, and her role is not only slightly smaller but somewhat less compelling. She plays an immigrant woman, a Muslim, who is also trying to work out an existence as an illegal in a rough and tumble England. She's rather good, but in a way she is a footnote to Eijofor's great presence. I also can't help thinking that this movie, and the one right before it ("He Loves Me ") were attempts to eradicate the typecasting of the movie right before that, "Amelie," where she is impeccable. Here she is quirky and almost strange, but in a likable way, and by the end she is partly why you feel so strongly for Eijofor.
The social point of this movie is a good underlying one—to show what life is really like for a large number of decent, hardworking people, many hiding from bureaucracy and immigration rules. The more sensational plot drives it forward, for sure, but in the big picture it's about surviving with dignity intact—and how that is sometimes impossible. See this, for sure.
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