Movie Review: ‘Dirty God’

Review by James Lindorf

Director Sacha Polak (New Boobs) is no stranger to sharing intense and deeply personal stories, and she has done it again with her latest film, “Dirty God.” Living in a looks-obsessed world, Jade struggles to reclaim her life after an acid attack left her severely scarred. Every day is endless judgment and humiliation in Jade’s mind as she grapples with the constant scrutiny of the public and a young daughter who is frightened by her damaged face. Dark Star Pictures will release “Dirty God” with virtual releases through Laemmle Theaters in LA, Gateway Film Center in Columbus, with more theaters to be announced on November 13th, 2020. The film will also be made available on digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Fandango Now, Direct TV on December 15th, 2020.

Making her acting debut and channeling her real-life trauma is actress Vicky Knight. Knight was an arson victim when she was just eight years old and has permanent scarring to 33% of her upper body. In general, Polak and the film owe a lot to Vicky, who was responsible for its two most outstanding elements. The first is her bravery. The risk to her mental health by bringing her fears, insecurities, and experiences to the surface day after day was a task most people would be incapable of undertaking. The second was the quality of her performance. I initially thought it was very good, but when I learned it was her first time acting in a film and graded on that curve, it rates the performance as fantastic. Jade is a sympathetic but not entirely likable character, and you find yourself rooting for her while wanting to yell at her to make better choices. Her character’s complexity is also thanks to Polak and her cowriter Susie Farrell who crafted a rich character with untold depth.

“Dirty God” is a gritty unapologetic look at a victim’s life and how one act can be toxic to every aspect of their life. The pacing is slow, with no tangible endpoint in mind. It is less about Jade getting something and more about finding out if things do get better. A question to which Polak’s answer is a resounding kinda. Just how much Jade was changed is open to debate, with any progress being held together purely by force of will. The tone and Polak’s artistic flair result in a film that will not be for everyone. Still, those that can stick it out will be awarded a deep and well-constructed piece of art.

Genre: Drama
Rating: NR
Original Language: English (United Kingdom)
Director: Sacha Polak
Writer: Sacha Polak, Susie Farrell
Producer: Isabel Davis, Clea De Koning, Michael Elliott, Frank Klein
Runtime: 1h 44m
Production Co: A Private View, EMU Films, Viking Film

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