Dirty Pretty Things
- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Jan
When the government turns a blind eye and crime rules the streets, who is the most dangerous person? Answer: A righteous man. That's the theme of
Frears never makes the same movie twice. Having helmed projects like
But Frears avoids the curse of films about social dilemmas. By making the film a thriller that echoes such classics as
The story follows Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor of
Gerri Pare (Catholic News Service) writes, "Steven Knight's well-crafted script builds suspense alongside character development. Strong performances certainly add to the sleek allure of this strange blend of film noir with a little twist of black comedy. But it is just as much a rather heartbreaking look at abused aliens with little recourse but disturbingly desperate measures."
Jerry Langford (Movieguide) calls it "an absorbing story with likable characters facing real-life dilemmas. The situational ethics are worthy of much discussion following the movie. [The film] is seriously marred by moral relativism, which attempts to argue that the ends justify the means. Also, the characters begin to lose spiritual faith and become their own saviors for their problems."
It is true that the hero makes a point that he has "no religion." But I would argue that the film is not marred by portrayals of unethical behavior. The film gives us characters making very believable decisions, and while we may not agree with their choices, we are not being encouraged to behave unethically. On the contrary, if the film has any agenda at all, it is to awaken us to the needs of the underprivileged. It should inspire compassion and care, not vigilante justice.
Langford is right when he writes, "The plight of illegal immigrants presented [here] is a deeply moving story, which should genuinely motivate Christians to reach out to these needy and downtrodden people. Christ died for these people, and Christians should be prompted to love them into his kingdom."
Many mainstream critics are applauding the film as one of Frears's finest, perhaps one of the best films of the year.
Regarding Stephen Frears' thriller