John Tynes claims, accurately, that Dirty Pretty Things is the “best damn film of the year.” So far, true. Stephen Frears has turned out another little gem. He paints the story using the edges of society, creating art with the conventions of the dark thriller genre. It’s not just a thriller, and it’s not just one of his social pieces; it’s an elegant braid of both.
Audrey Tautou kind of slips into the impish Amelie persona once or twice, which is a little odd for someone playing a Turkish immigrant, but it more or less works. The rest of the acting was superb. Benedict Wong was especially good, and got the best line in the movie in the best scene of the movie. Lucky guy.
I kind of want to be more descriptive, but it’d be a shame to rob anyone of the pleasure of letting the movie unfold. The setting is great, and the art direction is very evocative. There are moments, when the lead is suffering from nasty sleep deprivation, when Frears captures that feeling without falling back on the grainy filmstock and heightened contrast that’s already become a cliche.
It makes me want to go back to The Hit (mmm, Tim Roth) and watch all the Frears in order, excepting maybe the one with Julia Roberts.