Three American students vacationing in Finland, cross the border into Russia for fun of it. When they are spotted by the Russian soldiers who are shooting to kill, it's not fun anymore. ... See full summary »
After twenty years in prison, Foley is finished with the grifter's life. When he meets an elusive young woman named Iris, the possibility of a new start looks real. But his past is proving to be a stubborn companion.
Beautiful Photography, Boring Plot and a Poor Ending
Cleaner is a surprisingly boring and lackluster movie beautifully photographed. The casting is superb and would seem to be a sure recipe for cinematic success--Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, Eve Mendes and Luis Guzman. The dialog is decent and well acted. The plot is where this movie just completely drops the ball.
The plot begins mildly unbelievably--A crime scene cleaner becomes unwittingly immersed in the cover up of a homicide--and then just snowballs downhill from there into a huge police cover-up (I don't want to "spoil" anything for any potential viewers) with an unbelievable plot twist and then ends in a thoroughly stupid and highly implausible ending.
The upside and downside is this movie is beautifully filmed and with such talent, thought and effort that the cinematography itself keeps you thinking it has to get better and it only gets worse.
I hope Ed Harris got paid a lot of money to do this film! Ed does a great job with the little he has to go with and proves what a great actor he is. Eva Mendes does a poor job playing a recent widow to murdered husband (is she angry/sad/sexy/conspiratorial/or just a gold-digger who married a sugar daddy who just got knocked off?). Luis Guzman does a solid job as usual.
I seem to enjoy the movies where Samuel L. Jackson plays a supporting role or shares the lead rather than being the sole lead e.g. Pulp Fiction, The Negotiator, A Time To Kill, etc... In Cleaner he does a reasonable job with a poor plot until the end where his acting coupled with a bad plot twist left me wondering what I could have done better with the time it took to watch Cleaner.
All in all I wish this cast and DoP would have had a better script. I would recommend that Matt Aldrich stick to acting and give up the script-writing. As I think everything was done well except for the storyline/plot aka the script. I give kudos to Renny Harlin (director) for a job well done.
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