Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Movie Review: Cleaner

I went into this movie with no idea what to expect. All I saw was the cast, and that was a fairly good sign: Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendez, Ed Harris.
It's about Tom Cutler, an ex-cop who cleans up the mess of the recently deceased (and other biohazardous materials). He cleans up a routine homicide commissioned by the police, except when he returns after forgetting to leave the key under the mat, he discovers that the clean-up was not so routine after all...

I thought that this was a good movie. It was not your standard cop movie in that it did not have any action sequences. It was more like a detective film: ex-cop gets in trouble, tries to solve mystery, deals with family troubles, and delves into his own past. Even in that, though, it wasn't quite the same. It had less clue-following, in that Cutler tended to stumble into to clues and ask the wrong questions.
The filmwork was solid, though generally unimpressive--the highlights were the cleaning episodes. The acting was strong, which is necessary in a character-driven mystery. Samuel L. Jackson, when not being ridiculous, is usually impressive, and this was no exception. Eva Mendez was good, as were the supporting cast. Most interesting of all was the gradually unfolding of the characters' backstories. These were excellent.
I really have little else to say. The occupation is disgusting, but fascinating. Death-curiosity, I suppose, is a strong draw. I almost wrote that it would make a good exploitation flick, but then realized it would not. A good exploitation flick would not be able to deal with someone who cleans messes instead of makes them.

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