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Clean, Shaven - Review

A schizophrenic man, Peter Winter (a great performance by Peter Greene), is released from an institution and goes in search of his young daughter, Nicole. He returns home to find out his mother had put Nicole up for adoption. Another element of the story involves the murder of a young girl, whose body was discovered on the grounds of a hotel where Peter had stayed while making his way home. Detective McNally believes that Peter is responsible for the murder and is trying to track him down before he can reach Nicole. Writer/director Lodge Kerrigan manages to create a very multi-layered story, full of paranoia, that compels the viewer to keep watching. Peter Greene's performance as a schizophrenic, plagued by hallucinations is ultimately realistic and believable. His hallucinations are not of the psychedelic visual kind, but rather auditory; and the subtle soundtrack as well as the sound design help convey the mood. His schizophrenia and paranoia lead to acts of self-mutilation. As uncomfortable and jarring as these few scenes are, they never degenerate into gratuitous shock effect, but are a realistic portrayal of his way of releasing his fears and delusions. And every scene he's in is filled with paranoid tension, which forces the viewer to experience things the way Peter does. This aspect of the film reminds me of Roman Polanski's 1965 classic, REPULSION. Tension is also created by the fact that the viewer is kept in the dark as to whether he murdered the young girl earlier in the film or not. So when he finally finds (and essentially abducts) his daughter, you don't know what the outcome may be. This independent film is certainly unconventional and far removed from your average polished Hollywood production (thankfully), so don't expect a satisfying ending that answers all your questions. In the end, CLEAN, SHAVEN is an emotionally stirring character study of mental illness on par with the above-mentioned REPULSION and David Cronenberg's SPIDER.

Added by Hexenkult
10 years ago on 15 October 2008 01:11