Review Date: September 02, 2003
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Steve Knight
Producers: Robert Jones, Tracey Seaward
But my favorite part of this film was lead actress Audrey Tatou, who actually plays second fiddle to Ejiofor here, but who did an excellent job of portraying an innocent, hopeful, Turkish immigrant just looking to make her own way in life. I, like many people, was impressed with Ms. Tatou in 2001's breakout French hit AMELIE, but her first English performance here is also very good, restrained, yet authentic. She's also damn cute which never hurts when staring at someone's face for a little over an hour and a half. Ejiofor was also solid as the lead enigma, a man who starts off with little background, but who we slowly get to know, as layers of him get peeled off through every scene. The final shot of him is also a keeper. What didn't work for me so much in this film was its pacing, which I thought felt a little tired at times, and had me wondering where it was all going, as well as its "love" story, which I didn't particularly buy into. Yes, I definitely felt some chemistry between the two leads, a deeper caring for one another, but at no point did I really sense that they were "falling for" one another. Then again, maybe I'm just a cold, calculating, bitter film "critic" who has yet to discover the true meaning of love (except at the bottom of the proverbial bottle, of course) Seriously though, other than that, and truly, the pacing wasn't so much of an issue most of the way, just spurts here and there, I really enjoyed this film's foreboding, dark, mysterious nature overall, especially considering its central subject matter, which turned out to be deeper, darker issue altogether.
If moral dilemmas, mysteries, the underground world and a burgeoning friendship between two people stuck in similar circumstances interest you, you're sure to find what you're looking for in this film. It also shows how much we Westerners take our freedoms for granted sometimes, while immigrants from other countries are willing to do almost anything just to get their feet in the door. So what happens when you go to sleep at nights? Many dirty and pretty things, my friends...many dirty and pretty things.