Single father and former cop Tom Carver (Samuel L. Jackson) has an unusual vocation - he cleans up crime scenes. But when he's called in to sterilize a wealthy suburban residence after a brutal shooting, Carver is shocked ... more »to learn he may have unknowingly erased crucial evidence, entangling himself in a dirty criminal cover up. Directed by Renny Harlin and co-starring Eva Mendes, Ed Harris, Keke Palmer, and Luis Gusman, Cleaner is a dark, gritty crime thriller that proves cleaning up is the dirtiest job there is.« less
Jim M. from WEST GLOVER, VT Reviewed on 4/2/2021...
Fascinating movie. Samuel L is ALWAYS great!
4 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL Reviewed on 1/3/2015...
I really liked this movie. Suspense!
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Torkel E. (Torbjorn) from FAIRHOPE, AL Reviewed on 6/30/2012...
Great acting, great story.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Love F. (momto5) from WINSLOW, ME Reviewed on 8/11/2009...
I loved this movie! My son and I watch all kinds of CSI shows so this was right up our allley..Love samuel L. Jackson anyway but this was a great role for him. Very good cast..
5 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Yet Another Twist on Police Corruption
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"CLEANER is somewhat of an enigmatic movie: it starts out as though it is going to be a sassy comedy about a retired cop whose job it is to 'clean up' after homicides (a distinctly messy and repulsive job), turns into a rather grisly crime investigation story, adds a dollop of 'ain't life grand', and finishes as an exposé of police corruption. The story line by Matthew Aldrich is further fragmented by being so full of holes that the audience has to toss credibility overboard in order to make it through, and the method of direction by Renny Harlin can't seem to settle on which style to take. It is all kind of a mess and justifies the straight to DVD move. The saving grace of the film is a cast of stalwart actors who can make even a shaky script palatable.
Tom Cutler (Samuel L. Jackson) is a 'retired' cop who makes his living cleaning up the gory remainders of criminal acts of homicide and other grisly crimes. We learn his wife was murdered some years ago, leaving him as a single father of the bright and charming teenager Rose (Keke Palmer). Cutler happens on an assignment to clean a particularly gruesome homicide scene in the home of one Ann Northcut (Eva Mendes in a nicely understated role) and as the convoluted story develops, Cutler realizes that the crime scene represents a culmination of forces that threaten to uncork a long history of police corruption - a history that involves him and his best friend Eddie Lorenzo (Ed Harris) and the tough Detective Jim Vargas (a terrific Luis Guzmán). How the story ties together and ends is too loose to convey and would ruin the minimal drama present.
Each of the actors, even the minor roles played very well by such artists as Jose Pablo Cantillo and Robert Forster, give it the full court press. But the see-through script and the jumbled camera work and direction prevent this from being a significant film. Grady Harp, June 08"
Something is not clean around here
H. Schneider | window seat | 06/02/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jackson is a former cop who apparently resigned from the force for reasons related to the general standard of morality there (I lost my stomach for it, he says), and started a business that cleans up the most unspeakable mess, often crime scenes, but also pet infestations and other stuff. The movie starts badly, like a black comedy that is not funny. Then it turns into an interesting story. We learn that Jackson's character is a widower with a teenage daughter. The wife got killed by a burgler and then the burgler got killed by somebody while in prison. His best pal in the force was Ed Harris, who was somehow involved in everything. Jackson doesn't handle his single parenthood too well. One day he gets a job order, seemingly from the police, to clean up a murder scene. He does, and then finds out he was trapped: he has helped hide an actual murder case and now is on the police's suspect list. Mendes is the not-yet-confirmed widow. We think the police are the bad guys, with a big case of an IA investigation causing panic all over. I will not tell here what happens next, though it is so unlikely that it makes me withdraw a star for incredibility. I drop one more star because the centre of the plot doesn't hold water. If one could accept the trap in a technical sense, it would be a good idea, but with some CSI training one spots the holes in the trap with eyes wide shut."
An entertaining yet predictable crime thriller
z hayes | TX | 06/23/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The premise of Cleaner centers around an ex police officer, Tom Carver [ Samuel L Jackson] who quit the profession due to some messy business having to do with a criminal dying in prison under suspicious circumstances. Tom is a widowed, single dad to a teenage daughter Rose [Keke Palmer] who is intelligent and spirited. Tom finds it harder each day to deal with his daughter's questions regarding her deceased mom and the circumstances surrounding her death. His job as a 'cleaner of crime scenes' seems to go along well until a fateful day when he gets called in to clean-up a homicide scene and finds that he was set-up - the crime he cleans up after was never reported to the police, and he in fact inadvertently acted as an accessory to cover it up. Soon, Tom finds himself the prime suspect in the case- and there are a bunch of crooked cops after him.
He turns in desperation to his ex-partner, Eddie Lorenzo [Ed Harris in a wasted role] who seems helpful enough yet resentful of Tom's cutting him out of Tom's and Rose's [Eddie is Rose's godfather] lives. Then there is Mrs Norcut [Eva Mendes in a subtle yet effective performance] whose house was the one Tom 'cleaned' and whose husband is missing. Is Mr Norcut the victim of foul play and if so, who is the party responsible? Things get messy and confusing and Tom finds himself being besieged by all sides, whilst he tries to figure everything out.
The movie certainly has an interesting idea yet suffers from poor execution. It is only saved by the performances of a good cast - from Samuel L Jackson's Tom Carver, to Eva Mendes's Mrs Norcut, and even credible acting by those performing in the minor roles such as Rose [Keke Palmer], Det Vargas [Luis Guzman] and Tom's assistant. Ed Harris offers a lacklustre performance here - and his role is wasted. Also, the movie suffers from an incredulous plotline halfway through, and we can see some of the twists from miles away.
It's not a bad movie, just lacking some spiciness. Final verdict: an average crime thriller.
Arnita D. Brown | USA | 03/10/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Single father and former cop Tom Carver has an unusual job, he cleans up crime scenes. But when he's called in to sterilize a wealthy suburban residence after a brutal shooting, Carver is shocked to learn he may have unknowingly erased crucial evidence, entangling himself in a dirty criminal cover up. Samuel L. Jackson and Ed Harris did their job very well in the leading roles and Harlin's direction was also good. "Cleaner" is a dark, gritty crime thriller that just needed that original surprise twist in the end that never came, but it's worth a rent."
"The Cleaner" is simply a clever CSI episode.
Steven Hedge | Somewhere "East of Eden" | 12/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There's nothing great about this film, but there's nothing really bad either. It's an okay rental that is quickly forgotten.
The plot is laid out clearly enough with Amazon's synopsis, so I'll dispense with that here. In this film we have some top actors giving good performances. Samuel L. Jackson is more subtle than usual and that's a welcome change. There isn't a film that Ed Harris hasn't been that I haven't enjoyed to some degree and gives another nice performance here. Eva Mendes shows a bit more acting depth here than in most of her films, but then again, who cares? She's simply stunning and a pleasure to see.
The film runs like a better than usual CSI TV episode and that should help this film. If I had paid good money to see it in theater, I would have been mildly annoyed, but as a rental on the small screen, the film is enjoyable enough. It's a bit contrived, even ludicrous in places, but it all comes together in the end and makes for a satisfying 90 minutes."