It's the first time in a few years that I've seen Clean, which had always been my least favorite Assayas. I've softened to it for whatever reason. It's the most sentimental film I've seen from the director, and while it sags in the middle and has an overall pretty clunky script, that closing scene where Maggie Cheung goes full on Lou Reed—I bawled.
Drugs are bad, mmm-kay? This film was worse than drugs. It gets two stars because of Nick Nolte. In fact, watch "The Good Thief" instead for a better cinematic treatment of the drug-addled struggle. Also, the choice of Brian Eno's "An Ending (Ascent)" as the leitmotif music is particularly galling to me, as it was used 4 years prior for the closing titles of "Traffic", Soderbergh's 2000 film about the drug trade.
surprised to see how many ppl here didn't react to the story. maybe it's because I knew enough real life grandparents-mother-child conflict/resolutions? or maybe I'm just a "Lifetime channel" melodrama junkie!? it wasn't earth shattering nor tear pouring, but so isn't life usually. cinematography, directing & acting all worked seamlessly towards the plot. "name-dropping" wasn't a problem for me b/c I'm too ignorant
Viewing this picture, it becomes clear why it was lauded at Cannes for the work Maggie Cheung puts in bringing her character to life, and for the wonderful, free, and beautiful camera work. The hidden gem in here is the work of Nick Nolte. Here is an actor who has proven time and again just how good he can be if you give him the write character to play and a good script to work from. And Assayas? A fearless pro.
Being a fan of Maggie Cheung and Assayas's Irma Vep, I thought that I would enjoy this film. But, no it left me emotionally detached and un-satisfied. Any film that deals with the death of a lover and estrangement of mother and child should be allowed to show some sort of emotion without being called mawkish or overly sentimental.
I can't even begin to describe just how bad this film is. There is no good angle about it. Lazy film making (one more fade-out and I would have turned it off), terrible performances all around (Nolte was TERRIBLE) and a dreadfully pretentious story line (the name dropping was incessant and unnecessary). Beatrice Dalle was the only reason I watched this film, and I wish I had that hour and a half back now. Terrible.