Dirty God is the first English language film directed and co-written by Sacha Polak. Lead Vicky Knight makes her mark in what is also her feature film debut. Set in East London Hackney, Knight plays Jade a teenager learning to deal with aftermath of an acid attack. The working-class teenager has also to deal with motherhood and a mother who does not set the best example played by Corrie actress Katherine Kelly. They are some disturbing moments like when Jade decides to find an “interesting way” to pay for surgery to rebuild her face. It is not an easy ride for her as the scarred teenager, but she is resilient and does not give up on the things she would normally do like smoke drugs, go out partying, despite the fact that she is clearly struggling cope.
The film follows her ordeal from her watching the person who attacked her go to jail to her turbulent behaviour. Polak wants to show us the horrifying coincidences of acid attacks and the opening scene is a close up of Jade’s scars. In plain sight she manages to give us a thoughtful account of what it may be like for the many young women who suffer such brutal attacks. Some strong performances by Kelly, Knight, Bluey Robinson (Naz) who plays Jade’s best friend’s boyfriend. Not much is seen of her attacker apart from a man adorned in black feathers that Jade seems to meet in her nightmares. As Jade says to Naz “my god is different from your god my god is a dirty god. An honest depiction of urban youth culture.
A strong contender on the festival circuit this year. Dirty God is in UK cinemas for 7 June. The cast includes newcomers Vicky Knight, Rebecca Stone and Dana Marineci alongside Katherine Kelly (The Night Manager, Happy Valley) and British singer-songwriter Bluey Robinson.