Peter Winter is a young schizophrenic who is desperately trying to get his daughter back from her adoptive family. He attempts to function in a world that, for him, is filled with strange ... See full summary »
A man in his early 30s (Keane) struggles with the supposed loss of his daughter from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York, while fighting serious battles with schizophrenia. We can ... See full summary »
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Wendell B. Harris Jr.
Wendell B. Harris Jr.,
The Serengeti is a huge area of grassland in Tanzania, Africa. Once a year, in the time of drought, about two million herd animals like antelopes travel north to feed and mate before moving... See full summary »
A drink-soaked Vietnam veteran still bears the emotional scars of that terrible conflict. However, when a rogue mobster on the run with $15 million crosses his path, he sees his chance to ... See full summary »
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Hazari Pal lives in a small village in Bihar, India, with his dad, mom, wife, Kamla, daughter, Amrita, and two sons, Shambhu and Manooj. As the Pal are unable to repay the loan they had ... See full summary »
Four friends come up with an unusual idea to make some money and have fun doing it. For a small fee, they will impersonate and act out any character role for their customers. In the course ... See full summary »
Peter Winter is a young schizophrenic who is desperately trying to get his daughter back from her adoptive family. He attempts to function in a world that, for him, is filled with strange voices, electrical noise, disconcerting images, and jarringly sudden emotional shifts. He clings to his humanity like a raft, barely afloat in a sea of terror. In a brief moment of congruence, he shatters his image reflected in a window, perhaps to more properly align it with his fragmented psyche. During his quest, he runs afoul of the law and an ongoing murder investigation. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Viewers will have one of two reactions to Clean, Shaven (1994): they'll either be repelled by it and find it overly disturbing, or they'll be repelled by it and find it fascinating. Either way, it won't prove to be an easy one-and-a-half-hours to sit through; but as far as MY reaction goes, I was in the latter group. Every year there's a batch of disappointing thrillers, and this year was no different (with the exception of the wildly acclaimed Pulp Fiction, of course). But Clean, Shaven managed to transcend these expectations and deliver a psychologically thrilling experience unlike any other. The story may seem unoriginal, and it most likely is, but it's explored in an entirely unique way: a schizophrenic man (Peter Greene in one of his most powerful performances) is searching for his daughter while being hunted by a detective (new-comer Robert Albert, in a role that would have been tailor-made for Harvey Keitel) who suspects him of being a child serial killer. But the plot is marginalized, almost to the point of being insignificant; the REAL thrills arise from the direction and the editing. Not since David Lynch's Eraserhead has there been a picture as shocking or unsettling as Clean, Shaven; whether it's a simple shot of the sea or a close-up of a wood splinter in a man's finger, every single frame of the film is saturated with an unbearable amount of tension. Combine this with a genuinely creepy score and a startling mix of brief and long cuts, and you have an entirely eerie ambiance that will haunt you long after the credits are over. While I never had the opportunity to catch this film in a theater, I would bet that at least one or two people walked out during every showing; not because it's long (in fact, it runs at a mere 80 minutes) or because it's too violent (you'd find more violence in the latest blockbuster action flick), but because all of the violence in Clean, Shaven comes extremely close-to-home. When you see someone's head being severed by a machete -- as you might in your typical Hollywood movie --, you might not even flinch because it's obvious that the incident is highly stylized; but when you see someone cutting into his own finger with a knife and removing his fingernail -- which is just one of the many shocking acts seen throughout the picture --, you can hardly bear to watch it. Some might find this gratuitous or even exploitative, but those who have this reaction are obviously missing the point: while we (as an audience) are willing to endure countless shoot-em-up cop movies, the moment we see something mildly resemblant of true violence, we find it horrific and intolerable. But this is just one aspect of an immensely complex picture, the most compelling facet of which is Greene's performance -- which is really less of a performance and more of a total immersion into the character. Every fidget, every bloodshot stare, and every act of self-mutilation is perfectly horrid. Remember the infamous scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in which the voodoo priest rips the heart out of a man's chest? Well, Greene comes off as the sort of person who could do that to himself at any minute -- THAT'S the kind of tension that's delivered from start to finish. Clean, Shaven is the debut feature of writer/director/producer Lodge H. Kerrigan, and -- needless to say -- I highly look forward to what he has to offer us next. Filmed with a low budget and a minimal cast, this film packs more thrills and chills than any other big-budgeted studio release of this or ANY year. While it might not be a perfect movie, Clean, Shaven does something different with its genre and it does it well, and that is indeed something worth applauding.
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