Monday, January 12, 2009

Movie Review - Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

I'm not an immigrant. I was born in America, and I've only been out of the country twice. My view of the world has always been in the context that I'm a citizen of the United States of America. I have a home that I have the legal right to own. I have a job that the government takes money out of my paycheck every week to pay my taxes with. This is important, because whatever your situation is, I urge you to go into this movie in with a frame of mind that allows you to realize your place in the world. What if you had none? How would you like to work in a sweatshop? Would you still consider yourself a moral person and act accordingly?

I imagine it's like this in every major metropolitan city, but according to this film, being an immigrant in London- legal or illegal - is a hard way of life. Without becoming a proper citizen, the best you could hope for is a steady menial job that pays cash. There are all kinds of people that populate this world -- some have principles, some don't. Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Senay (Audrey Tautou) do. Sure, they clean up your shit(or internal organs) and fold your towels, but they don't seem to have any contempt for anyone or loathe the world they live in. it's obvious Okwe gets frustrated at times, but who wouldn't? He works -- if I'm remembering all of them -- two jobs. During the day he drives a taxi under a fake name, and at night he works the front desk for a ritzy hotel's midnight shift -- the same hotel where Senay labors as a maid.

It's not detailed in the film, but one would assume they met each other while on duty, and at some point decided to live together. Now, I don't know how immigration laws function in England, but for whatever reason, Senay is able to live there but not work. Okwe, on the other hand, isn't even supposed to be there. He's like a ghost, without an identity or any sense of belonging. His presence leads immigration to frequent Senay's apartment on reports that someone else is living with her, which understandably puts a strain on both of them.

Things start turning from bad to shit-end of the turd stick when Okwe has to clean a hotel suite one night, and in doing so, finds a human heart plugged up in the toilet. Why the fuck would there be a human heart in the toilet? That's a good question, but no one has the answer. Until he does a little digging, that is. What he finds will significantly change the way both he and Senay are able to live their lives. Suffice it to say that it includes sleeping in a morgue, organ "donating," and dick biting.

What makes the film so moving is that despite everything happening to them, Okwe and Senay still find enough compassion to see each other through the shitstorm that is their lives. If it were me, I probably would have said fuck it and dissapeared at the first sign of danger. Not that I'm a selfish prick or anything, but I just think it takes a certain kind of person to face adversity head on and try to kick its ass. Those are the kind of people you root for in this film, and they are its defining quality.

I'll never look at a cab driver the same way again.

And for my next review, I'll remove my serious face and tackle The Foul King. It's the greatest thing you've never seen.

No comments:

Post a Comment