‘Dirty Pretty Things’ wraps you in suspense

     “Dirty Pretty Things” is directed by Stephen Frears who is best known for his work in “Dangerous Liaisons,” “Mary Reilly,” and “High Fidelity.” Directing from a script written by Steve Knight (one of the creators of the original, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”) we have a film that includes many genres. Starting off as a thriller and eventually incorporating moments of horror, drama, and romance.
     “The performances in this film are good, real good. Starting with the main character, Okwe played to perfection by English Thespian Chiwetel Ejiofor. His character doesn’t sleep and over the course of the movie we see weariness get to him. He plays an illegal immigrant from Nigeria with a job as a cab driver by day and bell hop at a hotel by night.
     “Then we get to the alluring Audrey Tautou who, still riding high in America with her breakthrough performance in 2001’s “Amélie,” is playing the role of Turkish immigrant, Senay. She is working illegally trying to get to America. Tautou may not seem like she’s acting well but it’s only because she can be so subtle her “acting” may elude you. In fact the person I saw this with was wondering why Tautou’s English seemed more off then usual. It is not because she’s naturally French but because she’s doing a Turkish accent.
     “Rounding out the cast is Sophie Okonedo playing a hooker with a penchant for conducting her business in room 510. Benedict Wong as a mortician friend to Okwe, a source of brightness to contrast the bleakness portrayed in the film. Then there is famous French actor, Sergi Lopez, playing Okwe’s hotel boss Juan.
     “To describe the story I must first describe the setting. It takes place in London. But not a Hollywood-like postcard of London but a seedy side that only someone who’s lived there sees. Frears, along with cinematographer Chris Menges, paints a picture of a London run by illegal immigrants doing work the legals don’t want to. They are a society that live off the scraps of others. Since we don’t want to deal with it, their plight is invisible to us. Like Okwe says in the movie when asked how come he’s never been seen before, “Because we are the people you never see.”
     “In the center of everything is the Baltic Hotel which hires illegals to work as cheap labor. In the hotel you find everybody has a secret. Okwe is never open about what happened in his life before London, Senay doesn’t say why she allows Okwe to live with her even though he is a hunted illegal and she isn’t even a citizen, the hooker never uses any room other then 510, the doorman sees everything but says nothing, and Juan is their boss but seems to do more then hire illegals.
     “Like “Blue Velvet,” the catalyst for the story comes from the main character finding something where it doesn’t belong. From there we’re taken on an adventure to find answers to all the questions the film asks. And what a horrific and harrowing journey to the truth it is. There is weariness to the whole affair that doesn’t turn you off from the movie but tests you to live in the world Okwe lives in.
     “I cannot stress how much I enjoyed this film. It has wonderful performances across the board, perfect pacing, brilliant atmosphere, and a director who keeps every part of this motion picture balanced.
     “Look for the nearest showing of this film and find yourself a ticket. You will not be disappointed!