STEPHEN FREARS’ DIRTY PRETTY THINGS — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Writer/director Steven Knight has a list of aggressively amazing credits in either capacity (Locke, Eastern Promises, Peaky Blinders, Pawn Sacrifice, Burnt, Closed Circuit, creator of TV’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire) but his script for the 2002 thriller Dirty Pretty Things might be his best overall effort. Combining his writing with the effortless direction from Stephen Frears, this is a creepy and unsettling story of the illegal organ/body-parts trade on the black market, and how two very different immigrants living in the UK (Chiwetel Ejiofor as a cab driver/hotel desk clerk and Audrey Tautou as a hotel maid) get mixed up in some decidedly dangerous and potentially fatal criminal activities, while trying to figure out just what the hell is going on around them. With sinister cinematography by the incredible Chris Menges, extremely fluid editing by Mick Audsley, grubby-gorgeous production design by Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski, and a devilish musical score by Nathan Larson, the film seriously scores as a majorly stylish and always clever thriller that benefits from Knight and Frears’ inherent intelligence as storytellers, and from the committed performances by a great, ethnically diverse cast of characters who amp up the unknown factor into some very sketchy realms of unpredictability.

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