Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Carolyn and I saw Stephen Frears' new movie Dirty Pretty Things last night. I don't know what to say about it, except that if you are at all interested in how other people live, especially those poor foreign people that do all that car-parking and house-cleaning, you must go see it. Or maybe it doesn't really show how people like that live at all, because you know what? I wouldn't know. I am a rich American.

And even with all the grimness, the movie is really funny and surreal.

Audrey Tatou (the cutie-cute-cute girl from Amelie) plays a character who is abrasive and kind of hard to take. That is an interesting change of pace, but I was distracted from her good acting by her nose. Her nose is just so damn perfect. It glows.

An actor named Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the main character--an African refugee in London. He looks just like every cab driver/desk clerk/deli manager that you have ever not really noticed. Partly that is the costumes which are perfect. Sascha pointed out the other day that if we bought all of our clothes at the cheap-o department stores in Queens, we would look just like the recent immigrants from Mexico/Southeast Asia/Egypt who live in the neighborhood (except quite a bit whiter, obviously). Where do those clothes come from? Who designs them? Why don't they just design them to look like other cheap clothes - the ones at K-Mart and Target? They're not ugly, they're just slightly different - the pants are more pegged, the jackets are shorter, the sweaters have complicated swirly patterns in them, and there are some very strange looking polo shirts. Why?

Dirty Pretty Things made me think of how much I don't know about the world around me. I don't think it really anwered anything, it just pointed out that there are a lot of different kinds of people in the world, doing different kinds of things, and there is no way you can know about all of them.

UPDATE (12/5/2002)---Carolyn pointed out that there is a strange disjunction in the film between the first part, which is a very intense social commentary, and the last half-hour or so which is sort of funny and exaggerated. The second part made us wonder how seriously we should take the first part, and I think the movie lost something there.


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