Dirty Pretty Things


(out of 5)

Chiwetel Ejiofor is excellent as a Nigerian doctor working as a bellhop and taxi driver in London. One night while working his hotel job, he cleans up a bathroom and finds a dead human heart jammed in the suite’s toilet. Further investigation leads him to the discovery of an underground organ-trading business, one in which illegal immigrants are giving their kidneys to the hotel’s ruthless manager (Sergi Lopez) in return for falsified government documents. Ejiofor tries to stay out of the mess altogether, but when the Turkish chambermaid (Audrey Tautou, who is even more beautifully vulnerable than she was in Amelie) for whom he cares deeply gets involved, he must act quickly or face dire consequences to both of them. Stephen Frears’s direction is at its best in this gritty drama, one which plays like a thriller but is actually a serious, dramatic examination of the harsh conditions that visible minorities suffer in speedy, swinging London. The photography is terrific and the film’s last third is satisfying and uplifting without being manipulatively pat-happy or forced.

United Kingdom, 2002

Directed by Stephen Frears

Screenplay by Steven Knight

Cinematography by Chris Menges

Film Festivals:  TIFF 2002, Venice 2002

Academy Award Nomination
Best Writing (Original Screenplay) (Steven Knight)

New York Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Screenplay (Steven Knight)

Los Angeles Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Screenplay (Steven Knight)

National Board Of Review Awards
Special Recognition, for excellence in filmmaking
Freedom of Expression Award

Writers Guild Award Nomination
Best Original Screenplay

British Academy Award Nominations
Best Screenplay – Original
Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film

European Film Award Nominations
Best European Film
Best European Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor)
Best European Cinematographer
Best European Screenwriter
Audience Award-Best European Actor (Sergi Lopez)
Audience Award-Best European Actress (Audrey Tautou)


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