Written by Adrien Brody, who also stars, and Paul Solet, who also directs, Clean is a tight-knit film about the choices one can make in life, how the past influences the future, and what it means to care. The script here is solid and so is the direction. The film is one that starts off very minimal with just one character really being involved. Slowly, the film expands and brings in other characters, this allows the viewer to connect with the lead and really get invested in what happens to him and what he does once things get going.
Brody as the lead does great work, as he usually does. Here, his character is looking for himself, looking for redemption, looking for purpose. He does this with a performance that is calculated, held back when it needs to be and unleashed when it’s time. This is his movie in more ways than one. He clearly created something here to showcase what he can do and Paul Solet brings it to the screen. Also shining is Chandler DuPont as Dianda, the lynchpin of the film, the one who forces Brody’s Clean to come out of his forced isolation and self-searching. Her story is not an easy one, but she’s a strong teenager with some powerful scenes. The rest of the cast also give strong performances, leading to a strong ensemble who show a connection to the material in a way that is organic and great for the film.
As is usually the case with Paul Solet’s films, Clean looks and sounds great, showing that he has once again brought the right team together for his work. The cinematography by regular collaborator Zoran Popovich is beautiful with just the right framing and amount of lingering on certain scenes and aspects of the film which is also assisted by the editing by Arndt-Wulf Peemöller who also edited the heart-breaking Dark Was the Night. Their work is calculated, balanced, and ready to show what needs to be shown. The team working on Clean is filled with people who know what they are doing, have talent, and have the right sensibilities for this film.
Clean is a slow-starting, slow-burn film about acceptance, forgiveness, and care. It’s mostly about humans being human, how events can affect some, how people are willing to change when needed, and how showing one small bit of care can change the lives of many. Yes, it’s violent. Yes, it’s a revenge movie, but it’s also much much more than that. It’s a beautifully crafted film with a fantastic performance at its center.