Directed by: Tricia Lee
Starring: Tianna Nori, Samy Osman, Sean Kaufmann, Serge Plourde
Clean Break is a low budget thriller about a man who meets, and quickly falls in love with, a severely disturbed woman, who quickly wedges herself between him and his best friends and roommates. Throughout our lives, I believe that we all have a friend or two who ends up head over heels with someone that you just don’t like. Whether you can put your finger on what bothers you about the person or not, you know there is just something about them that leaves you uneasy and confused about what your friend sees in them. How everyone handles that situation is always different, because each situation is particular to an array of delicate circumstances that must be taken into consideration. Do you talk to your friend? Do you let things go and see how things develop? Or do you confront the new love interest?
Clean Break begins with three best friends living together. Cam is the womanizer with a set of ridiculous rules that he takes to ridiculous lengths because of an unknown past. Then there is Dan, the guy who gets along with everyone and seems to be coasting through life without any real direction. Lastly, Scott is the stoner, who has no life ambition. As friends who have lived together for a while, each guy knows how each one ticks, so when Scott ends up meeting and very quickly falling in love with Tracy, a beautiful, high-maintenance woman, Cam sees the problem instantly. However, Cam's womanizing ways make Dan and Scott overlook his concerns, and more importantly, blind the two from Tracy’s subtle but disturbing actions, as the two butt heads throughout the film. As the story unfolds, their dispute escalates to nightmarish and life-destroying levels that should make any guy think twice about his buddies’ girlfriends.
While it is obvious where the film will go, it is executed better than I had anticipated, despite its limited budget and limitations from actors. Most of the film's dialogue feels forced and wooden, but the direction and how far the filmmakers are willing to go in terms of Tracy’s craziness and violence in the last act, slightly makes up for these downfalls. Speaking of Tracy, Nori’s portrayal here, while not spectacular, is more than acceptable and believable as an overly attached and excessively controlling woman with psychotic tendencies.
Sadly, instead of ramping up the suspense of whether Tracy is actually a good loving girlfriend or a psychotic and controlling murderer, the filmmakers answer that in the opening scene. Personally, this is the weakest aspect of the storytelling here, because the filmmakers end up taking away the film's ability to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. And while the final act does escalate to a crazy place, the rest of the film ultimately doesn’t live up to its own potential because the opening scene robs it of so much potential suspense.
By Andy Comer
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