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Film Of The Week Acid commentary

Burning issues come to the fore in the story of a young mother horrifically disfigured by an abusive partner, says MARIA DUARTE

Dirty God (15)
Directed by Sacha Polak

AFTER the explosion in acid attacks in Britain over the last couple of years comes a timely and poignant drama exploring the long-term effects on victims soon forgotten by the media.

Dirty God centres on Jade (Vicky Knight), a young mother living in London whose ex threw acid in her face, leaving her with severe burns and the drama begins as she is picking up the pieces following his brutal assault.

It has left her badly scarred, in spite of the numerous surgeries she has undergone to correct the damage.

Leaving hospital, she goes to pick up her two-year-old daughter Rae (an adorable Eliza Brady-Girard) from her paternal grandmother, where she’s met by cries of terror from the youngster, who’s frightened by a mother she doesn’t recognise. It’s distressing and heartbreaking to witness.

Newcomer Knight, a burns victim herself from a fire, gives a brave and powerful performance as a young woman who, defined by her stunning looks prior to the attack, is now at a loss without them. She finds solace and sexual release with anonymous men online as “regular” guys shun her.

Sacha Polak’s English-language debut feature, which she’s directed and co-written with Susie Farrell, is brutally raw and uncompromising and is at times hard to watch.

It shows the constant staring, verbal abuse and bullying Jade suffers at the hands of ignorant strangers and how the physical and psychological scars she has suffered affect her and her closest friendships.

Her overriding need to look like her old self again takes her down a desperate path as she seeks cosmetic corrective surgery in Morocco.

A film exploring and questioning the importance of looks in a selfie-obsessed generation living their lives vicariously through Instagram and other visual social media, it’s also about the journey of a young woman learning to love and accept herself.

A thought-provoking drama, it ends on a surprisingly hopeful note.

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