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Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

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An illegal Nigerian immigrant discovers the unpalatable side of London life.


Stephen Frears


Steven Knight
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Chiwetel Ejiofor ... Okwe
Audrey Tautou ... Senay Gelik
Sergi López ... Sneaky / Juan
Sophie Okonedo ... Juliette
Benedict Wong ... Guo Yi
Zlatko Buric ... Ivan
Kriss Dosanjh Kriss Dosanjh ... Asian Businessman
Israel Oyelumade ... Mini Cab Driver (as Israel Aduramo)
Yemi Goodman Ajibade Yemi Goodman Ajibade ... Mini Cab Driver (as Ade-Yemi Ajibade)
Nizwar Karanj Nizwar Karanj ... Mini Cab Driver
Deobia Oparei ... Mini Cab Driver
Jeffery Kissoon ... Cab Controller
Kenan Hudaverdi Kenan Hudaverdi ... Cafe Owner
Damon Younger ... Punter
Paul Bhattacharjee ... Mohammed


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 Weslley Gonçalves

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some things are too dangerous to keep secret. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, disturbing images and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site




English | Somali | Spanish | French

Release Date:

5 September 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Negocios entrañables See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£141,865 (United Kingdom), 15 December 2002, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$100,512, 20 July 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,111,360, 16 February 2004

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,550,000, 7 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Damien O'Donnell was originally attached to direct, but he decided to pass after problems with Harvey Weinstein. He directed Heartlands (2002) instead. See more »


When Okwe and Senay are drinking wine, Senay lifts a full glass. In the next shot, the glass is 3/4 full. See more »


[first lines]
Okwe: Do you want a car? Ten pounds, Theatreland. Car? London? You want a taxi? Buckingham Palace.
See more »


Referenced in Fantasmes! Sexe, fiction et tentations (2013) See more »


Written and Produced by Nathan Larsen
Published by Miramax Film Music (BMI), Hot One Inc
See more »

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User Reviews

Good contemporary British film
10 July 2004 | by nqureSee all my reviews

A film about an emotive, controversial subject, but also with a touching romantic subplot that is poignant but never sentimental. Great performances from all the leads, particularly the moral opposites of Eijifor (Okwe) & Lopez (Sneaky). The photography was excellent depicting a sleazy London not normally seen in the likes of Curtisland.

The screenplay was excellent although I found the conclusion - with the tables turned on Sneaky- a little melodramatic & one had to suspend belief slightly. The film reverberates with many memorable pieces of dialogue.

The film is very much about personal journeys - Okwe, from trying to forget his past to confronting it; Senay - from innocent dreams of New York to disillusion & despair. Her growing closesness to the prostitute Juliet (Okwendo), whom she initially finds repugnant, represents how far her terrible journey has taken her. I liked the way Okwe is associated with the recurring motif of cleanliness: he washes glasses, sterilises medical equipment. It may seem minor, but it emphasises his virtuousness & integrity in a corrupt world/society where exploitation is rife on so many levels ('a virtuous man is dangerous' according to his friend, Gou Yi (Wong)).

For a film about 'organ' donors, it is also about the emotions (the heart) or rather the absence of them (Sneaky). Compassion is to be found in the most surprising of people: the prostitute Juliet.

A moving film about a deeply emotive subject yet one also laced with black humour, i.e. we are made aware of Okwe being a doctor when he is asked to check his colleagues' STD at the cab office. It is also a film which makes one feel guilty. You can feel more pity for a fictionalised portrait of asylum seekers than for the real people struggling for survival in this country.

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