Dirty God review – stirring story of an acid-attack survivor

the Guardian | 6/9/2019 | Mark Kermode


An astonishingly vibrant and engaging performance by feature first-timer Vicky Knight drives this urgent, passionate drama from Dutch film-maker Sacha ****. Set in a selfie-obsessed world of Instagrammed “beauty”, it follows the survivor of an acid attack as she struggles to reclaim her life, and redefine her identity. Making her English-language debut, **** (director of festival-favourite award-winners Hemel and Zurich) conjures a fearless drama, as raw and revealing as it is tender and affecting. There are no dramatic platitudes here, nor soft-soaped cliches. This is full-blooded (and arrestingly tactile) fare, which gets right under the skin of its central character, in appropriately unruly and unflinching fashion.

Scarred by her ex-partner and father of her child, Jade (Knight) is discharged from hospital wearing a claustrophobic lower-face mask that eerily recalls Édith Scob’s lonely imprisonment in the 1960s horror film Les yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face). Jade is a feisty young Londoner attempting to manage motherhood while still in the throes of her own youthful rebellion. But her two-year-old daughter, Rae, who has been staying with her shoplifting grandmother Lisa (Katherine Kelly), is frightened by Jade’s appearance and, heartbreakingly, has to be convinced that Mummy is a “nice monster”.

Cocoon - Hospital - Jade - Range - Reactions

Outside the cocoon of the hospital, Jade faces a range of reactions as she revisits her old haunts – the parks, pubs and clubs in which she once felt secure. Her best friend Shami (Rebecca Stone) is encouragingly upbeat about Jade’s reintegration into their hard-partying group, although a covert rivalry for the affections of Naz (Bluey Robinson) threatens to come between the pair. But when the NHS says it can do no more for Jade (“So I’m left with this **** dog’s dinner?”), she turns to the internet, where Moroccan clinics promise miraculous results at bargain-basement prices. She also discovers online a world...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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