Adrien Brody slowly unleashes into action as he will do what it takes to protect a mother and daughter in this action-drama.
Clean is a garbage man in New York who spends his time repairing parts to give to the local pawn shop owner and is good friends with some of the neighborhood. However, he does go into group meetings to deal with the tragic death of his young daughter. To make amends, he befriends and keeps a close eye on Dianda, who reminds him of his daughter. Despite her mother Ethel’s fears, she is grateful to Clean for making sure she goes on the right path.
The problem is that Dianda has joined up with a local street gang. At first, Clean is warned to stay away from them and after a confrontation with leader Dopeboy, Clean decides enough is enough. He opens up a box with a wrench. Heading to the gang’s hideout, Clean rescues Dianda from the gang by bashing their skulls in. However, one of the gang members is the estranged son of Michael, one of the area’s biggest crime lords. When Michael learns what has happened, he has ordered Clean and the duo dead. However, Michael is in for a wild ride when he learns the truth about Clean’s past. Now wanted dead. Clean must do whatever it takes to protect Dianda and Ethel from Michael and his gang.
Adrien Brody is quite an interesting actor in terms of the roles he plays. For his latest, which he co-wrote with director Paul Solet and also composed the score, he goes the John Wick route of a man with a past who tries to move on. In shades of films like The Man from Nowhere and even Leon: The Professional, this film does take a bit of a slow burn with narration from our hero in the film.
Brody does an amazing job in this film as the titular Clean. We learn through flashbacks throughout the course of the film who Clean really is, as we see the tragedy of his loved one plus a reflection of his past. We see him as a lowly and yet somewhat respectable garbage man who befriends some of the locals in the area. From the RZA’s pawn shop owner who buys off fixed electronics to young Dianda, played by Chandler DuPont, Clean tries to serve as a father figure perhaps to atone for his feeling guilty over his daughter’s death.
Glenn Fleshler does an excellent job as mob boss Michael, pulling in a performance that would make Vincent D’Onofrio’s “Kingpin” Wilson Fisk proud. If D’Onofrio were to choose a replacement for Fisk, this would be the go-to guy in this reviewer’s opinion. Fleshler is ruthless, even berating his son for joining a local street gang rather than follow in his dad’s footsteps. That is, until he is seriously injured by Clean and is forced to avenge his son and make an example by getting rid of Dianda and her mother. This forces Clean to go on a road trip to protect them and this leads to some pretty intense action scenes courtesy of Manny Siverio. One major scene is set in the back of a bowling alley where Brody unleashes close quarter mayhem using a small axe like his adversaries. The finale really takes the cake and it so well done.
Clean is a great slow burn action drama with Adrien Brody churning out one of his best roles to date, as a guilt-ridden man who looks to make up by becoming a virtual one-man army. Kudos to Glenn Fleshler’s performance as the main antagonist, who does it so well that he could make a good Kingpin down the road.
WFG RATING: A
IFC Films presents a Fable House production. Director: Paul Solet. Producers: Adrien Brody, Elliot Brody, Paul Solet, and Daniel Sollinger. Writers: Adrian Brody and Paul Solet. Cinematography: Zoran Popovic. Editing: Arndt Wulf-Peemöller.
Cast: Adrian Brody, Glenn Fleshler, Richie Merritt, Chandler DuPont, Michelle Wilson, John Bianco, Dinora Walcott, RZA, Semaj Grant.
The film will be released in select theaters, On Demand, and Digital on January 28.