Parents' Guide to

The Cleaner

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Earnest indie drama has some violence, heavy themes.

Movie NR 2021 93 minutes
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This is a powerful and subtle indie-drama on enduring in the midst of economic, physical, and emotional suffering. The Cleaner has all the hallmarks of a successful low-budget indie: understated action, strong character development, relatable characters, strong acting and story that more than make up for limited resources. Through the acting and the action of the story, it doesn't take long to see that most of these characters have seen better days (assuming they even had better days, in some cases), and the setting where most of the action takes place, an RV camp somewhere on the outskirts of Los Angeles, reveals so much about struggling in a reality where the middle class is disappearing fast.

As Buck, the struggling housecleaner given a job he can't refuse, King Orba imbues him with the right level of weariness. The ensemble cast has a ridiculous amount of cameo appearances, and these characters heighten this sense of trying to not only endure in this world, but also to maintain a sense of hope and even dreams for a better life ahead. Like many indie-dramas, this might not be for those looking for lots of action, but The Cleaner reveals once again that solid acting, relatable characters, and a good story can do so much more on a limited budget than a blockbuster movie with a weak story and cliched characters.

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