"Dirty Pretty Things"
Directed by Stephen Frears ("The Grifters").
Written by Steven Knight.
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou and Sergi Lopez.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 8/27/03
I believe that Steve “Moore” Baron
recommended this one to me, but even without his rec we had good
film elements on paper: Audrey Tautou, the star of
“Amelie”, as one
of the leads; a good-looking London shoot; director Stephen Frears
(best known for “The Grifters”). But, what does all of this add up
Well, honestly, I thought “Dirty Pretty
Things” was very average when all was said and done. The production
is quite slick, and the plot features an illegal African immigrant
named Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who has moved to London for reasons
unknown but clearly needs money, so he works two jobs, one as a
night receptionist at a downtown hotel. One night after picking up
behind a hooker’s visit to a room, he makes a discovery that alerts
him to problems that only the hotel manager Juan (Sergi Lopez) seems
to know about. So, with the help of a woman named Senay (Tautou)
that is putting Okwe up temporarily, the twosome try to figure out
just what the hell is going on in that hotel!
I thought that Ejiofor was excellent; as the
stoic, oft-emotionless Okwe, he does a very good job at making you
get behind the investigation as well as his personal story that
unfolds over the film’s 100-minute running time. The development of
the Okwe character, as well as the smooth-looking shots of London by
night and throughout the hotel, are very well done. Parts of the
script, especially much of the dialogue, are very strong and I
really liked the score of the film, which kind of reminded me of my
earlier experience with
“The Good Thief”, the Nick Nolte film
released last year.
But, once we in the audience discover the
secret of the hotel, the film loses its edge and becomes a more
ordinary thriller. By only giving us about a half-dozen regular
characters, there is not much room left for discovery and we know by
the halfway point that Okwe and Senay might have a thing for each
other...so, where do we go from here? The ending for “Dirty Pretty
Things” was some mix of not very interesting and just a tad bit too
easy; I was very unsatisfied with the ending, which just seemed to
lay limply on the ground while trying to flip itself back over.
Not much to say here. So-so, and it’s not
necessary to see in this in theaters...but, it’ll make a great rent!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard