CLEAN (2020) Reviews and overview for Adrien Brody crime drama

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Clean is a 2020 American crime drama about a garbage man who attempts a quiet life of redemption while being tormented by his past.

Directed by Paul Solet (Grace; Dark Summer; Bullet Head) from a screenplay co-written with Adrien Brody. Produced by Adrien Brody, Elliot Brody, Paul Solet and Daniel Sollinger.

The Fable House production stars Adrien Brody, Glenn Fleshler, Richie Merritt, Chandler DuPont, Michelle Wilson, John Bianco and Dinora Walcott.

Clean (Adrien Brody) tries to live a simple life. He works alone at night, collecting other people’s garbage while philosophising about the city’s decay. His free time is spent cleaning up abandoned buildings and looking after the neighbourhood. Deeply troubled by a violent past and the loss of his daughter, Clean is stuck in a rut, only momentarily able to lift the heavy veil of regret.

When a well-meaning mishap marks him as the target of a local crime boss (Glenn Fleshler), Clean is forced to come to terms with the violence of his past in this brutal and bloody thrill ride…


Clean is a mildly gripping character study for about an hour, getting into the agony of guilt and the frustrations of parenthood, offering layered understandings of the participants and their behavioral challenges. But all that goes away in the end, with Solet abusing use of slo-mo to add style, while a hip-hop soundtrack is at odds with the serious psychological ideas the writing submits, turning the whole thing into a dreary, predictable VOD-style brutalizer.”

Clean tells a gripping, slow-burn tale punctuated by brutal bursts of violence through the gritty filter of noir […] Brody delivers one of my favorite performances of his career. Throw in RZA as a pawn shop owner, messy and effective realistic-looking blood splatter, a drug-smuggling kingpin […] and you have one great movie.” Josh at the Movies

” …we know from moment one that Clean is way more than a salvage man. We slowly find out his mobbed-up background as he once was called ‘The Grim Reaper’ – I kid you not – as we also find him with a full tattoo of the Reaper on his back […] while not completely a mess, Clean does fail to pass the spick and span test and is a messy story that we’ve seen all too many times before.” Peggy at the Movies

“Brody and Solet give us a character who bears the emotional brunt of his past, his torment, and maybe begrudgingly he must go back to it. Clean has no choice but to go back to his previous life, a life that torments him to this day, to protect those who he cares about. Not content with just delivering a thriller that depends on excitement, they’ve made a compact vision of the Man With a Past type thriller and given it more emotional heft than most of its predecessors combined.” Screen Anarchy

“Brody juggles co-writing, producing, and music composing duties […] while plumbing intriguing depths of emotion in his character, most notably in moments where the ghosts of Clean’s past drift into his present. It may never be in question where Clean’s journey is ultimately headed, but Brody’s layered performance still gives us a reason to care in between the expected brutality.” Slant

Clean premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival on June 19th.

In the USA, Clean will be released theatrically by IFC Films in select locations and On-Demand on January 28th 2022. Rent or buy via Amazon

Cast and characters:
Adrien Brody … Clean
Glenn Fleshler … Michael
Richie Merritt … Mikey
Chandler DuPont … Dianda
Michelle Wilson … Ethel
John Bianco … Frank
Dinora Walcott … Hartley
Pat Buck … Mugger
Aaron Callahan … Reporter
Michael Callahan … Lawyer
Sonia Conlin … Nurse
Gerard Cordero … Vic
Alex Corrado … Tommy
Antino Crowley-Kamenwati … Tattooed Man
Andrew Dale … Thug
David Fierro … Danny Dispatch
Semaj Grant … Dopeboy
David Hadasz … Phil – Cartel Dealer
Wayne W. Johnson … Maintenance Worker
Scott Matheny … Bowler
Frankie Montero … Fritz

Filming locations:
Utica, New York

Technical details:
94 minutes


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