(2002, Miramax Studios)

Dirty Pretty Things <=====> Code 46

I had intended to juxtapose these movies because of the ethical emotions both films evoke. Essentially they’re creepy movies. But I’m just reviewing Dirty Pretty Things because it is an excellent movie and clearly the better of the two, but I enjoyed them both.

Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor (Gesundheit!)) is a Nigerian immigrant living in London just trying to eke out a living. He does this by working two jobs – cab driver by day, and night clerk at a swank hotel. One evening, as Juliette (Sophie Okonedo) a high class prostitute, is leaving the premises she tells Okwe about a problem with the toilet in one of the rooms. Okwe goes upstairs and manages to unplug the toilet by extracting a human heart from the damn thing.

Well shit, this freaks him out, so he goes to his boss, Senor Juan (Sergi Lopez), who doesn’t seem all that concerned about it, but instead suggests that Okwe call the police himself. Turns out Okwe can’t do this because he is an illegal immigrant, having fled his country. (Sorry, forgot to mention that.)

Read the rest after the jump!

Now, also working at the hotel as a maid is Senay (Audrey Tatou – I’d like to tattoo her alright). Furthermore, Okwe sleeps on Senay’s sofa. Well not very much because, what with the two jobs, he chews these leaves all the time to stay awake. I can’t remember what the leaves are but I’m sure Jethro could help me out here. Anyway, she doesn’t admit to shacking up, because, being Muslim, she justifies the situation by them never being in the apartment at the same time.

Oh, Senay’s Turkish, she’s legal but she’s not allowed to work, and the British immigration thugs are after her all of the time to make sure she isn’t – working that is. They’re also more than a little curious about a pair of men’s shoes they find near her sofa. Cut to Okwe out in the streets in his stocking feet.

So a large part of the movie focuses on these menial lives immigrants must lead, essentially doing jobs that the citizens wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

Things start getting complicated as Okwe begins to try to figure out where that heart came from. And Senor Juan, nicknamed Sneaky, is no dummy. If Okwe is smart enough to know it’s a human heart, he must have some medical training. And if he resists calling the cops then Sneaky has himself someone he can pressure to his own advantage.

Senay’s life gets complicated too because she almost gets caught starting her shift at the hotel, so she escapes then ends up becoming a seamstress in a sweat shop. A little later the owner there gets annoyed at yet another immigration raid on the shop trying to catch Senay red-handed, which essentially empties the premises of all of the workers, so he puts some conditions on Senay’s employment — conditions of the oral variety.

I’m not going to tell you anymore, except to say that the plot twist at the end made this movie tremendous. It truly was about dirty pretty things.