Review: Clean

Clean - Review


Adrien Brody wants you to know that he’s multi-talented. The youngest Best Actor winner in history, having already tried his hand at directing, now produces, co-writes, and scores Clean – he’s only a directing credit away from the “full John Carpenter”. This is after attempts to establish himself as not just a dramatic actor, but also someone who can do comedies – like Vince Offer’s inAPPropriate Comedy, for which he unfortunately received a dialogue credit – and an unlikely action star in vehicles like King Kong and Predators. Like Liam Neeson before him, Brody evidently found that shooting big guns was more fun than doing worthy dramas about the Holocaust. And who can blame him?


Unfortunately, Clean finds Brody still in action-star mode. Things start off quietly enough, with cod-Taxi Driver monologues as we see our hero, Adrien Brody as the improbably-named Clean, quietly going about his job as a binman, dutifully attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings (ah, he’s Clean, you see!), and striking up an unlikely friendship with a little black girl. But soon enough – though it doesn’t feel particularly soon, due to the film’s almost determinedly lethargic pace – he winds up in an unlikely scrape involving a drug den, a hilariously streamer-bedecked girls’ bicycle, a wrench, and a fried-fish-cocaine-smuggling operation, and he has to spring into rather predictable action, caving in faces and blasting illegally-modified shotguns all the way.

In short, Clean follows yer basic violent, revenge-fuelled action-thriller template pretty closely, despite its moody beginning and unusually slow pace. Perhaps there weren’t enough pages of clichés to fill 90 minutes, so everything had to be done at half-speed to make up the time. Who knows? Still, hip-hop fans might want to keep an eye out for the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA as a pawn-shop owner. Sadly he didn’t write a score, which would have served the film a lot better than the generic lo-fi of “Brody Beats”.

None of this is to say that the film is necessarily terrible. If you’re in the market for something of this nature, you could certainly do a lot worse. Ever seen any of the dreck the UK turns out within this genre-? If you haven’t, don’t bother investigating. No, it’s more just that, for something that is so obviously a passion project, Clean is so obviously ordinary.

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