A hitman spends his morning with a woman and afterwards leaves with his boss in order to get rid of a specific person. From there on he stumbles
upon difficult choices that he has to make in order to get out of there alive.
Written By: Tofiq Rzayev
Directed By: Tofic Rzayev
"The Cleaner" is an interesting take on the life of a goon. In particular, a killer for hire. Although not completely unique in concept it does offer the interesting idea that killers are just like the rest of us. Only much more dangerous. They talk to their co-killers about life and new ideas they may have, have ongoing and new problems in their lives... and even a sense of humor! Tofiq Rzayev scripts a pretty decent account of what a killers life could be like when they're not at work. Of course, that insight can't last forever. Sooner or later we have to get into the meat and potatoes of the story; in this case, an interesting situation that develops while our lead is at "work", which hits pretty close to home. Our anti-hero must decide which comes first. Business or personal life.
"The Cleaner" features some straight up camera work that although not fancy, tells the story and does-so in a crisp, clear way. Absent are the irritating free-form camera set-ups bouncing and jiggling all over the place. The lensing is shake free and locked down. If you think that sounds boring, think again. The "to the point" cinematography looks pro and polished; just what the killer... err... Doctor ordered. Unless you have the cash for some high end dolly gear, or a good stabilizer, I can't stress enough how important locked off shots can be. Visually, "The Cleaner" is easy on the eyes which propels the narrative forward... without getting you all dizzy. Aside from that, I also liked the fact that our lead wasn't an angel or killer with a sense or morals. During the film, it's made very clear he has no problems killing anyone with a price on their head. Man? No problem. Woman? Again, no problem. His motivations and decision during the movie are personal. This simple revelation makes the story much more believable and interesting, ensuring the viewer doesn't know for sure how the film will end. It's the small things that count... and in this case they counted for a lot.
Audio and post production were well done featuring a decent dialog track that although not of a studio standard, was easy enough to hear. The video editing was competent and flowing, pushing the story easily through till the end. I do have a slight issue with the sub-titles however, they were very fast. Sometimes, instead of clearing a previous line of dialog... just put the next line under it. Makes things much easier to follow and brings me to my next topic. The acting itself. Sub-titled films are tough for me because I'm reading text and not performances. "The Cleaner", from what I could tell does just fine in the acting department. I may have missed a lot of the actions and reactions from the small cast, but I got enough to have liked what I saw. Like the rest of the film, they felt genuine and real.
Overall, "The Cleaner" isn't a movie grounded in morals and doesn't claim to be. It presents an interesting situation and resolution; while attempting to entertain the viewer as it does. I was quite impressed with the end result and think you, the viewer will be as well. My only suggestion for Tofiq? Get to work on some poster art and marketing material. You've got the "making" down pat... now get in on the design elements.
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