Dirty Pretty Things

Poster for Dirty Pretty Things

Winter 2004 Main series

Sunday, February 8, 2004 at 4:00pm
Sunday, February 8, 2004 at 7:00pm
Monday, February 9, 2004 at 7:00pm

Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS

Directed by


Rated 14A · 1h 47m
United Kingdom

Stephen Frears (Liam), the director of such modern classics as The Grifters and Dangerous Liaisons, returns with the provocative and utterly gripping film Dirty Pretty Things, a part of the Masters Programme at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival. Working in a gritty, unadorned style, Frears (who won the Sergio Trasatti Award for Best Director at the 2002 Venice Film Festival for the film) explores contemporary London entirely through the eyes of a “non-WASP” subculture peopled by Turks, Chinese, Nigerians, Spaniards – all of whom are working in service jobs on the margins of English society. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who served notice of great things in Amistad, and Audrey Tautou, adored by audiences in Amélie, play illegal immigrants Okwe and Senay who live in an unstable netherworld of stalking immigrant officials and under-the-table paying jobs. Okwe is a Nigerian who has two jobs and seems to get no sleep: by day he drives a taxi, at night he is a porter in a hotel. Okwe is kind and sensitive, an angel of a man with a mysterious past. When a persistent immigration official begins to track him, Okwe is forced to quickly relocate and ends up living on a couch in the dingy apartment of Senay, a shy and beautiful hotel chambermaid. One night at the hotel, he unwittingly stumbles across a bizarre event that leads him to suspect that human organs are being traded by people desperate for money and passports. With no way to report this shocking discovery without revealing their illegal status, Okwe and Senay find themselves drawn into a terrifying underworld. Combining Frears’ deeply rooted compassion for the downtrodden with an almost Hitchcockian style of horror and suspense, Dirty Pretty Things captures as a revealing social document and grips as a shocking tale of spiraling intrigue.

“Half love story, half horror story, it’s like an urban legend with a conscience.” – Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Throughout his career, Frears has taken chances, and only on rare occasions has he missed the mark. Dirty Pretty Things is right on target.” – James Berardinelli, Reelviews

“An odd hybrid – part thriller, part social commentary, part quirky comedy – that adds up to something that’s entertaining, enlightening and highly original.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter

“Frears’ vision of London’s invisible work force is never less than captivating and warmly sympathetic, and Ejiofor’s performance is a portrait of exhausted dignity that will stick with you for years.” – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com