Belief to create helps Jewish actor Adrien Brody elevate his latest film –

Dan Buffa, Special for Jewish Light

The garbage truck that Adrien Brody drives in his new film “Clean” may read “happiness,” but the garbage man inside is anything but bloated. When he’s not taking out the trash in the morning or caring for his next-door neighbour’s niece, Clean is a walking relic: someone whose guilt has completely taken over his system. What made it so? Audiences aren’t entirely sure at first, but answers that take their time here aren’t a bad thing.

Named after its title character, “Clean” is the kind of movie that’s both literal and brutal without being too rushed. It doesn’t hide much from the viewer, only filling in the backstory as we get to know our dark knight. Performed stoically with an occasional smile by Jewish actor Adrien Brody, Clean is the guardian of the streets in this small upstate New York town, the kind that has dirty cops and lots of unploughed snow lying around; the tone matching the drapes of the figures.

Brody’s garbage man tries to lead a quiet life, but we know how it goes in these tales. He’s drawn to an unforced connection with a local mobster (Glenn Fleshler, happily chewing scenery), the path takes him down the path of violence he left behind years ago. What we don’t know about Clean won’t hurt us, only the mobster and anyone who gets in his way and his quiet life. The other events in the movie are best enjoyed if you’re not ready for them. It’s not that you don’t know what’s going to happen; it’s the “how” and the “why” that come out louder in this film.

The mystery

The mystery of “Clean,” applied very thickly by Brody, is what keeps the film going for the dreary and fairly dark first 45 minutes. Embedded in his desolate existence of cooking meals and restoring auto parts, we spend enough time with him early on, to care for him when things go wrong later. While not all of the other characters are equally fleshed out, there are more types here than actual people – there’s something that clings to Clean’s soul from his own tormented past, and the conviction of Brody takes you for the ride.


MERS Goodwill Announcement

The only way it works if you get a talented lead at the vanguard, and Brody delivers. There’s something painfully hurt in his gaze here, stretching a few miles further than usual. He looks like a guy who’s seen all forms of trauma and tasted it too, even the ones we’re not sure about. They say there’s nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to lose, but “Clean” taught me that there’s nothing worse than a bad guy who decides to ‘to be good.

Adrian Brody

Brody produced and co-wrote the film with director Paul Solet, who previously worked with the actor. Their familiarity with each other’s tendencies is picked up by the camera, which paints the set dark gray and bright colors throughout the film. Supporting actors such as Mykelti Williamson and RZA do well in small but polished roles.

If you prefer uplifting, fake light, “Clean” isn’t the movie for you. It’s a dark tale with a revenge hook that doubles as a bereavement seminar. Believe me, the ending of this film delivers, but it’s the subtlety in the quieter moments that gives depth to the action sequences. Carnage is not a failed gun battle or a fistfight, but a battle that gets inventive and fair. What the world has taught us is that there are different forms of mensch, people who do certain good deeds that can only go unpunished if there is some justice in their intent.

The twist

In an eerie twist of morbid fate, “Clean” has a satisfying ending that wraps neat yet provocative fate around its story, overcoming genre tropes such as unnecessary storytelling and cheap aesthetics. Here, it’s Brody’s star power and a revenge film’s willingness to move at its own pace while still clocking in at around 95 minutes that makes this B-movie worthy.

Like its anti-hero at the center, “Clean” may not be perfect and could be forgotten in the spring, but it doesn’t ask you to love the saved and the saviors in its grim tale – just ask yourself enough. long what made them so broken in the first place.

“Clean” opened in theaters in St. Louis on January 28.

Previous AI-generated art is the next big thing in NFTs. Here's what it means for artists
Next Hugo's Deli, a hot new contender in Melbourne's sandwich shop boom