The Cleaner | Chicago Reader

The Cleaner

95 minutes 2012

As a deadly virus sweeps Peru, a lonely forensic cleaner (Victor Prada) scrubbing down the home of dead woman finds her young son hiding in a closet; the local shelters are overrun with children, so the cleaner takes the boy under his wing. Director Adrian Saba shows a keen understanding of mise-en-scene, using the stark lines of door and window frames to create a visual design reminiscent of a de Stijl painting, and the dystopian setting feels authentic (the constant sound of barking dogs subtly communicates just how few people are left). But the cliched relationship between the man and the boy gradually drowns the film in sentimentality. In Spanish with subtitles.

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