Dirty Pretty Things (2003)
|Category||Drama||Main Menu Audio & Animation|
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Stephen Frears|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
It would be easy for those whose idea of London is based entirely around gritty crime dramas that feature prominently on weekday nights on the ABC or Mike Leigh dramas to form a less than entirely flattering opinion of one of the world's great cities. Certainly the London tourism board wouldn't be looking to Stephen Frears' latest film - Dirty Pretty Things for any pointers as to the selling points of the city. It is set, tellingly, in two distinct 'worlds' - the deodorized cleanliness of a major hotel where the bellhops, launderers and valets scrounge a living whilst presenting a mandatory, manicured perfection, and the grimy, shadowy reality of tenement buildings, where the city's immigrant population live heaped on one another.
The story revolves chiefly around two immigrants - one legal - a young Turkish woman who harbours dreams of making her way to New York, the other illegal - a Nigerian doctor who fled his homeland for reasons which remain unknown throughout much of the film, revealed towards its close in heartbreaking fashion. Audrey Tatou is perfect as Senay, a young woman struggling to preserve her sense of identity and morality in a world so devoid of it, befriending the doctor Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor - a terrific performance from this British actor who copied his accent from his Nigerian born family members), whom she works with at the hotel and sublets her room to.
Whilst cleaning a hotel room Okwe makes a gruesome discovery - a human heart is blocking the plumbing of a toilet, with not a body in sight. Unable to contact the police for fear of alerting the authorities of his illegal residence in the country, Okwe initially tries to put the incident out of his mind, but conversations with Sneaky (Sergi Lopez), a fellow employee, raise his suspicions and he decides to investigate further. The further he digs, the more of the seedy and desperate world of black market organ trading he discovers, a world that threatens to embroil Senay, whose desperation to get to New York sees her make a terrifying decision.
Frears has made an intriguing film, but its swift pacing and (I felt) clipped ending left me a little dissatisfied. The characters are fascinating and I was constantly wishing there was more exploration of their pasts. Perhaps, though, we are kept at arm's length because it is an accurate reflection of the impersonal world of so many of a large city's poor. There is much to admire in Steven Knight's script, which received an Oscar nomination, and I can recommend the film with few reservations.
We are presented with a decent if not spectacular transfer of a recent, low budget film. It is correctly presented at its originally intended aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.
Sharpness levels are commendable with equally good levels of detail. Shadow detail is a little poorer than I would have liked but it isn't a major detraction. There are instances of grain throughout - which is probably a combination of artistic intent and a less than perfect transfer.
The colour palette swings between garish night lights of red and green and the city's drab, sobering greys - all well captured.
There are occasional smatterings of fairly insignificant film artefacts and the print is not 100% clean but it is very good. Film to video artefacts are not overly noticeable.
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is of very good quality. It is subtle and only occasionally does one make out definite sounds from the rear speakers. The subwoofer doesn't get much to do, but adds some weight to the intermittent musical soundtrack and some punch to some of the livelier scenes.
Dialogue is at all times clear, so long as you can adjust your ears to the myriad of accents. Audio sync is terrific and there were no detectable dropouts or distortions.
|Surround Channel Use|
No extras - not one!
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Compared to the Region 1 release we miss out on:
An interesting but somewhat disappointing film.
The video quality is fine.
The audio is not demonstration material but works well.
|DVD||Yamaha DVR-S100, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 76cm Widescreen Trinitron TV. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||Yamaha DVR-S100 (built in)|
|Speakers||Yamaha NX-S100S 5 speakers, Yamaha SW-S100 160W subwoofer|