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Clean

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EX8DQG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,212 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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By Wing Lee on March 25, 2006
Format: DVD
Clean, a powerful drama starring Maggie Cheung and directed by her ex-husband Olivier Assayas finally arrives in DVD for the first time. It's the second film collaboration between Cheung and Assayas, who had previously directed her in Irma Vep. I was so thrilled to see this film at the Toronto Gala Screening almost two years ago, and I got see Maggie, Assayas and othe cast members. Assayas mentioned that this film was specifically custom-made for Maggie, and it ultimately won her the Cannes Best Actress Award. And Yes, this film was mostly shot in Ontario(Hamilton) and some locations in France. This film allows her to sing, do drugs, lose her husband, fight for custody of her kid, imprisonment, redemption, and she gets to delivered her multilayered/career best next to Center Stage performance in English, French, and Cantonese.

Emily Wang(Maggie Cheung) on the surface is a very much a spinoff character of real-life rock chicks like Courtney Love. Her life is falling from grace when her drug addiction causes the death of her husband and jail imprisonment. When she gets released from jail, she seeks a new and Clean life. She hopes to regain custody of her son who's taken care by the grandparents(Nick Nolte, Martha Henry). She also wants to make her comeback as a rock singer and have a normal drug-free life. But it's going to take her a lot of hard work and struggle in order to regain what she's lost. On the road of recovery, she ultimately learns that when she doesn't have a choice, she must change. Through the process of rebuilding her life and career, she learns to let go of her dark past, and move on to become a different person.

Maggie is very powerful in this film. She conveys all the layers of her character so naturally.
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Format: DVD
To get the full, globe-trotting flavor of "Clean," one need simply note that Emily Wang is a Chinese immigrant living in Paris with her British rock star boyfriend, and that their child is being raised by the young man's parents in Vancouver, Canada. All I can say is that "Babel" clearly has nothing on this film when it comes to international storylines spanning widely varying cultures and time zones.

Though a French film, "Clean" actually begins in the English-speaking section of Canada where Emily and her husband, Lee Hauser, both heroin addicts, are desperately attempting to jumpstart Hauser's fading music career. The couple seems to be patterned somewhat after John Lennon and Yoko Ono, since everyone around them seems to think that Emily's undue influence on him is bringing him down both personally and professionally. When Hauser dies of a drug overdose, Emily - who earned some renown of her own as a music show hostess on an MTV-style interview show on French TV a decade or so back - is arrested for heroin possession and sentenced to six months in prison. Upon her release, she returns to Paris, agreeing not to have any contact with her son until she can kick her drug habit and make a decent life for herself.

As a cautionary tale about drug addiction in the music business, "Clean" doesn't show us anything we haven't already seen in countless films (and VH-1 specials) on this very same subject before. Yet, although the movie is a bit too scattered in its focus at times, when it is zeroing in on the things that really matter - Emily's attempts at overcoming her addiction and her efforts at forging a meaningful relationship with her young son - it is poignant, profound and deeply touching.
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Format: DVD
Watching Maggie Cheung's portrayal of rock singer, Emily Wang, in 'Clean,' gets us immediately hooked . Much like Maggie Gyllenhaal's lauded performance in 'Sherrybaby,' Cheung brings a struggling drug addict to life. Washed up she and her husband Lee are strung out on heroin at a cheap, Canadian motel, arguing about the strategy for jump starting her career and their survival on drugs. Both are on each other nerves until a fight has her fleeing the scene and jumping into their car to shoot up and sleep through her run. The morning brings about a rude awakening as police descend on the room she tries to enter where she finds her husband dead from an drug overdose. Acting wildly, she reveals the junk in her purse as she flails her arms. They can hardly do more than arrest her and put her through rehab. The next scene we find her out with a tentative stability through methadone and a visit from her father-in-law, Albrecht Hauser (Nick Nolte) who, with his wife, keep custody of Emily's estranged son, Jay.

From Vancouver, she flees to Paris where relatives keep her financially afloat, while her nerves are shipwrecked as she barely survives a waitress job and her illegal pills meant to substitute her depleted methadone supply. She also connects with Jean-Paul who tries to get her inroads to the newest singing sensations. Emily, with some lesbian tendencies, gets paired off with other Parisian acquaintances who provide room and board, including a fan of her MTV work a generation earlier. Every day is a struggle, and, as she recovers, she discovers her feelings, especially to reconnect with Jay who harbors resentment toward his mysterious mother whom he blames for his father's death. Each step Emily takes away from poverty and addiction seems insurmountable.

Authentic and compassionate throughout, 'Clean' is an honest film that offers a fascinating portrayal of the aftermath of drug addiction.
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