Viewed – 13 April 2014 Netflix
Audrey Tautou shot to fame following her quirky, adorable turn in the sublime Amelie and has since gone onto critical acclaim in many movies, even if much of her output has passed me by. Shame as after watching this intriguing and thought-provoking drama, she’s remains one of the more charming foreign exports. This follows the story of African illegal immigrant Okwe, who juggles several jobs, never sleeps and basically just tries to be a good guy in a difficult world. Whilst friends with a maid at a hotel where he works (Tautou) … his good nature gets the better of him after discovering a human heart flushed down a lavatory(!), causing him to investigate it’s origin…
Set in London and shedding light on the struggles of the asylum seeker and immigrant communities as well as the criminal underground – this was certainly eye-opening. Main star Chiwetel Ejiofor proves a very watchable lead and his complexity and urge to do the right thing made for an interesting, well rounded character. Tautou’s more fragile, innocent maid was less complex but just as interesting, as was Okwe‘s Chinese mortuary worker friend and the colourful characters at the various jobs he worked. Director Stephen Frears may have cut his teeth on bigger projects than this, namely Dangerous Liaisons and Mary Reilly but although simpler in concept, this proved very absorbing and rather educational.
Although for it’s subject I felt it needed a bit more danger (such criminal activity going on, and the only threat is deportation?) this makes up for such shortcomings with good characters and a more than capable cast.
Worth a look.
Verdict: 3.5 /5