Revenge is never meant to be tidy…
On Blu-Ray today, Clean manages to find some genuine beauty in the very dirty business of revenge thanks to an exceptional leading performance and style for days that elevates an ugly topic into something that we can’t look away from.
Tormented by a past life, garbage man Clean (Adrien Brody) attempts a life of quiet redemption. But when his good intentions mark him a target of local crime boss (Glenn Fleshler), Clean is forced to reconcile with the violence of his past.
Best way to describe Clean would be as a simple movie and a simple story that is dripping with style and dread.
Yeah, in reality there’s nothing all that new about this revenge story that has an indie John Wick kind of vibe to it, but this screenplay that is co-written by director Paul Solet and star Adrian Brody is 100% a vehicle for Brody to do some very good character work.
Brody is absolutely putting in the work here (he also produced and did the musical score for the film?) as a tortured soul who is living a mundane life looking for redemption from his past life and the pain that it brought him. He’s the kind of actor that can evoke emotion from an audience and give us tons of information about the man that he is playing without saying a word.
In concert with his star, Paul Solet plays this all like an old-school noir except with some brutally hard edges to it all. While the big swooping moments of drama occasionally hit like a lead balloon, there’s an honesty here that is hard to deny.
Both actor and filmmaker here want to transport us into another world, and at least from a visual standpoint, they do that in spades. This is quite simply a very visually arresting movie to watch. Sure we know the plot and the story arc and ultimately how it is going to all flesh out, but Clean is truly much more about the journey then it is about the destination.
Rather than overcomplicate the narrative, Solet and Brody use the quieter moments in the film to truly let the film work. It ostensibly could have even been a silent film as the two leads in Brody and Glenn Flesher tell us this story through their faces and their actions because quite frankly they just didn’t need much of anything else.
Sadly there are no special features on this Blu-Ray of Clean but it has such a distinct look that this very ugly story of revenge actually lives up to its titles namesake as it’s rare for a film that is dirty and raw through its violence and performances to look as well as it does.