Months ago, when it was on general release, Hind told me that I would enjoy Dirty Pretty Things. A friend of Sonya’s had recommended the movie to her too. So the two of us watched it on DVD yesterday afternoon.
It’s an excellent, low-budget drama/thriller about the lives of refugees in contemporary London; a little worthy, a little cartoonish, but well worth seeing.
There are only a couple of token whites in a solid cast of many ethnic types—one of the running jokes is the inability of Britons or Americans to distinguish between members of broad racial groups. Chiwetel Ejiofor is superb: he manages to come across as weary, thoughtful and proud, without slipping into “noble savage” mode (© 1977 Roots). Audrey Tautou almost completely atones for animating the hugely slappable Amélie. The screenplay and direction make clever use of that script-school favourite “foreshadowing“. And, photo geek that I am, I was particularly impressed by the gentle “slide-film” glow of the lighting.
Life for illegal / semi-legal immigrants in Britain is probably both worse and better than it is depicted in the film, but this is good art so I’ll allow that facts shouldn’t obscure the truth.
Sonya asked me about the state of Nigeria afterwards—the male lead is meant to be Nigerian; I was born there—and I gave her a fuzzy overview of what I admitted was a horribly complicated situation. I was relieved to read that my summary more-or-less agreed with this likely more authoritative article recommended by Instapundit last week.
It wasn’t exactly fun, Hind, but I did enjoy it, thank you.