Nov 29th 2008, 17:18
'Clean Ugly Belonings' -- written by Ben Rider
Anger surges through the characters absences of belonging, poverty and small hopes of escapism, these are all parts of the web which is a ‘dirty pretty thing’, the London high life is turned upside down as the maids and taxi drivers are revealed to be all illegal immigrants, low workers of the slimy employers who will use them only for there own benefits.
It is hard to believe that Stephen Frears went on to direct ‘The Queen’ from such an achievement as this film, it feels a step down from the hard going drama of the Steven Knight scripts drawing of immigrants and their companionship with each other as they plummet through society and grasp up only to struggle as they attempt to save up, for another let down across the channel.
Okwe, is a Nigerian doctor who is temporarily living with Senay, a Turkish Islamic chambermaid, who work at the same West London hotel, which is run by Senor Sneaky and is a place where business of drugs thrive and prostitution is common. However, when Okwe finds the human heart of a failed surgery in one of the toilets, he opens the door into something far more sinister than just what he saw as a common crime.
It is a heart of sorrows, a film like that of a war within communities only tied together by the night jobs they carry; our lead character (Okwe) has a deep lack of hope and compassion to anyone, this is one aspect of the guilt riddled culture, he hopes only to reach into his past of what awaits him abroad, like him the lead female character seeks her love with Okwe (who avoid her) and the future life abroad; she awaits the new Yorker feeling of the American Dream – which she admits to knowing at the end will be a nightmare.
Regardless of the audiences understanding or appreciation of any captured life of the London hushed-up ‘dodgy’ culture, it does not require a genius to see the films content is rather a comment on the modernised ways and the lack of compassions shown to these characters, for example the trace of crime (a heart plugged into an overflowing toilet) is an ‘elusion’ and a part of the job required to be played for a position as a desk clerk in a hotel, this is rather a small pinhole into the next few days played out by a never sleeping man.
The film delivers a subject rarely visited by British film makers, being based in London it is wise to note how the real ‘English’ characters are painted as the evil law enforcing characters, who seek to complete what ever task they want with the expense of using the down trodden lead characters.
It is this which partially paralyzed my mind as a viewer, the film has not one part of a compassionate side to its tale, the characters draw upon life as a bus tour which will be a lead of where and what to do, it is fearful to watch as they fall deeper and deeper only to admit to prostitution and surgery as a key to the exit door.
It is perhaps only these moments near the end of the film, which show our characters fighting back on society, ‘in which they get to keep there cake and eat it’, and as we witness the oppressing hotel manger being carved up for the liver exchange it is only now when the audience may relax and grasp for a moment of recollection on how life really is, how happy we should be, the privileged.
However since seeing this film a small cloud of rain has started to follow me whenever I think of it, the deprived individuals and there miserable lives depresses me; I can conclude the film is hardly a funny all ‘grin and no tear’, as there are no Hollywood signs glaring in the background to take away the pain, it is real, its content and subjects.
It is this realism which makes this film substantial and connecting to the audience’s emotions which will defy you as a viewer, some will find it harsh, others a collage of pain.
It is easier to say ‘grit your teeth’ as you watch it; however I wouldn’t and as long as the viewer is compassionate and presently in the UK it is advisable to enjoy the drama as no else can make them like the British.
Written by Ben Rider
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