“Clean” accomplishes extra when it tries to do much less: when it follows Adrien Brody’s tormented character round as he quietly goes in regards to the everyday enterprise of atoning for his sins. Brody conveys a lot of emotion and remorse merely by his display presence, although his haunted eyes and regular gait. However then the narration kicks in, needlessly explaining what he’s pondering on a regular basis.
This small movie was clearly a labor of affection for the Oscar winner, who additionally serves as producer, co-writer, and composer. Why he would lend his appreciable clout to this clichéd story advised in overwrought style stays a thriller, however, his means isn’t doubtful. Reteaming with director and co-writer Paul Solet (“Bullet Head”), Brody stars because the paradoxically named Clear. He’s a rubbish collector who spends his nights selecting up trash from the economic, snowy streets of Utica, New York, and laying down his worldview in repetitive, heavy-handed tones.
“I’m nonetheless lookin’ for solutions,” he explains in a raspy, opening voiceover. “I simply don’t know the questions anymore.” He additionally complains in regards to the “infinite onslaught of ugliness” he sees throughout him, which is greater than a bit of harking back to Travis Bickle’s screeds towards the decay of society. “Irrespective of how laborious I attempt, I can’t wash away the previous,” he says ultimately, simply in case we weren’t clear as to the story “Clear” goals to inform.
However, watching him attempt to just do that’s way more compelling than listening to him discuss it. Clear is nice together with his arms, and we see him undergo the methodical technique of gathering salvageable objects, fixing them in his spartan house, and promoting them to the native pawn store, the place RZA brings a welcome feeling of heat amid the bleakness as its proprietor. Mykelti Williamson additionally has a number of good moments as a barber who serves as Clear’s sponsor. (His restoration from drug habit provides the movie’s title yet one more which means.) Clear appears to know everybody within the neighborhood and secretly does good deeds for them, like portray over graffiti or fixing the outside of a dilapidated home.
There’s a way more intriguing story right here within the easy collection of kindnesses that pave the street towards his salvation, however, Solet and Brody are extra inclined towards the exploitative shock of gory, B-movie thrills. Among the many folks, he seems to be out for is Dianda (Chandler DuPont), a candy teenager dwelling along with her grandmother. She clearly reminds him of the younger daughter he misplaced, a tragedy “Clear” alludes to in brisk, overly stylized flashbacks. (We lastly study what occurred towards her on the finish, however it appears so ridiculously unimaginable, it drains the occasion of its meant dramatic punch.) When he savagely protects Dianda from being gang-raped by a bunch of native toughs, one of many youngsters he beats up together with his trusty wrench occurs to be the son of town’s drug kingpin (Glenn Fleshler). Bashing within the face of the younger ex-con, Mikey (Richie Merritt), stirs the vengeful ire of this unstable crime boss, who makes use of an unassuming fish market because the entrance for his operation however will beat a man to a pulp on the sidewalk in broad daylight for shorting him.
And so these two wildly violent males discover themselves on a collision course with one another, with an enormous physique depend piling up of their wake. However, there’s nothing particularly impressive in regards to the choreography or execution of those motion sequences. They’re fast and soiled, albeit with squirm-inducingly vivid sound design. Clear takes on a John Wick-like high quality in his means to plow by numerous goons with an easy pickaxe or no matter what else he finds mendacity round, and that entire good-with-his arms enterprise comes into play as soon as once more as he crafts his personal makeshift arsenal.
Once more, merely watching Brody partaking in such painstaking work is fascinating; the generic massacre that ensues, much less so.