The world needed this film. From the first few magnetic minutes, Sasha Polak’s Dirty God grabs hold of you, long after the credits have finished. Do not expect a sentimental pull on your heartstrings, because actress Vicky Knight brings her explosive A-Game to the screen.
We follow Knight’s character, Jade, in the aftermath of an acid attack, due to none other than her ex-boyfriend. This premise is not dissected in depth at any point in the film, as there is no need. The viewer does not need it explaining, as it immediately forces the unbearable reality that we sometimes cannot trust or control our immediate, close circle, and even they can be the source of absolute atrocity and cruelty.
By following Jade’s experience, we see how the world responds to her in different ways. From her infant child’s initial recoil and gradual recognition of her appearance, the overtly harsh disgust and coldness of her co-workers, to navigating her sexual life, Knight uses her own experience from being a burn-victim and channels this into her portrayal of a woman who is only just learning how to live with these scars.
During her Q&A at Hackney Picturehouse, Knight generously shared her journey of mental health and how she has moved from coping to realising she is a fantastic, talented and beautiful person. Knight talked about how this film helped her in things that would have, otherwise, impossible. Raw, unapologetic, and utterly stunning, I guarantee this film will change the lives of anyone who comes into contact with it.
Image: Eloise Wright, from left to right: Sasha Polak, Vicky Knight, and Anna Smith
Edited by Dimitrina Dyakova, Deputy Digital Editor