Friday, 25 January 2013

Film Review: CLEANSKIN (2012)

Cleanskin - poster Writer/Director: Hadi Hajaig
Running time: 108 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 9th March 2012

Watched on Sky+ Friday 25th January 2013.


I knew nothing about this film prior to viewing, aside from the couple of line written in the TV guide that is. I guess it must have been enough to intrigue me into giving it a look. I found it quite a tough watch but worthwhile in the end, although not entirely satisfying. It has its flaws which I’ll tell you about after this very brief summary.

Cleanskin - 7 Britain is under attack from a group of home-grown terrorists. These are people who are not under suspicion by the secret service and as such are deemed to have a ‘cleanskin’. When ex-operative Ewan (Sean Bean) is involved in an attack, his former handler, Charlotte (Charlotte Rampling) calls him in and gives him the green light to investigate. It is to be under the radar, using old-school tactics. He has another agent, Mark (Tom Burke) to help him. We are also introduced to Ash (Abhin Galeya) who is a British Muslim who is radicalised by the manipulative Nabil (Peter Polycarpou). This puts him at odds with his girlfriend Kate (Tuppence Middleton). The story of his relationship with her and how Nabil influences him is told in flashback. As Ewan and Mark close in there is many a twist in this tail, but to say any more would be to say too much.

Cleanskin - 4 All the performances are very good with Sean Bean standing out, but I have to give credit to both Abhin Galeya and Tuppence Middleton for some excellent work. It’s well shot, if not as slick as some movies made in the capital in recent years; I guess there was a limited budget. The plot was quite well thought out but I felt far too much time was spent in flashback. Much of what was established there could have been done in a much shorter timeframe. What I wanted more of was Sean Bean’s character; he had a great presence and left me wanting a sequel. Over all it’s a nice thriller that tries a little too hard with some aspects of the plot, but still worth a watch. I did find it quite hard going at times but a final twist made it all worth while… that and Sean Bean’s character, Ewan.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (Just)

My score: 6.4/10.

IMDb Score: 6.2/10 (based on 9,965 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: No Data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Cleanskin - 9 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 53/100 (based on 17 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 71/100 (based on 1,359 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:

Ewan: I fought over there, to stop this from happening here
Ewan: again. Didn't stop, they're not going to stop, neither will I. I'm going to find everyone of them, and send them to the death they pray for.

Cleanskin - 3 Charlotte: We're bound by procedure. In this situation, we cannot afford those constraints.

Nabil: In Afghanistan, we had to fight to earn respect and freedom from the Russians.
Ash: You were there? What was it like?
Nabil: What happens on the battlefield is between you and God.

Charlotte: You're out of your mind.
Ewan: It's in my nature.

Cleanskin - 6 LINKS:
(NOTE: All links were working at the time of going to press)

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