You watched Skyfall, but just can’t get enough of the British Secret Service shenanigans, or you just wanna see a good spy thriller? Cleanskin, starring Sean Bean and Charlotte Rampling, may be  right for you, as a sort of poor mans 007. Although everything about this movie screams mediocrity and straight-to-DVD, it is quite watchable and enjoyable if you like the genre. The script seems realistic enough, exploring an aspect of terrorism that you don’t see often in this genre: how someone decides to become a terrorist or a suicide bomber. The clash between civilizations and motives was also explored but still with enough suspense not to make it too dull. Sprinkle this concept with good action and enough suspense and you got yourself a flick that is great as an opening thriller in your movie night. The violence is quite good and graphic, since they didn’t have to worry much about censorship.

Cleanskin PosterEwan is a British Secret Service agent, and as you probably suspected he is trying to stop Muslim extremists. After the failure of his initial mission, where he fails trace to a highly effective explosive Semtex, he’s called home, to England and assigned a partner, a not very talkative but extremely talented operative Mark. Two of them now must find a way to stop Ash, a terrorist who is determined to strike at very heart of England. Ash is also not alone, as he greets a mysterious man who came to help him plan and carry out the attack. At the same time, we are able to follow Ash, as he slowly progresses (regresses more like it) in his terrorist cell. We find out what are his motives and just how strongly he is prepared to fight for his beliefs, no matter what they are. A man determined to catch a mass murderer and terrorist and a man determined to carry out his mission to the end, who will win?

Dancing on a fine line between being offensive and acceptable, Cleanskin is an engaging thriller with the accent on motives and urges that drive each side of this conflict. The shades of gray are the place where the answer lies about who will win this fight, as there are no clear and neat endings in things like terrorism. It may seem that after all those movies about Muslim extremists and Jihad, you can’t stand to see another one, but this one will just slip by with its grim smile…

Director: Hadi Hajaig

Writer: Hadi Hajaig

Cast: Sean Bean, Charlotte Rampling, Abhin Galeya, Tom Burke, Tuppence Middleton (what a name…)

Fun Facts: A “cleanskin” is a term for an undercover operative unknown to his or her targets, or, as more commonly used in the UK following the London bombings, an extremist with no previous convictions so therefore unknown to national security.


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