The Cleaning Man

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 6, 2015

The French, she is a gesticulating race. This time the women are definitely not being played by women. The scenic sameness we questioned in The Fur Hat is nowhere to be seen, because we cut between a number of contiguous interior spaces, and that quite quickly. In fact, The Cleaning Man is kinetic unto Sovietness. Better, in many ways, mostly because that punitive ideology is replaced by reckless comic anarchy.

This cleaning guy—who really does clean in a most hilarious manner—is a force of nature. A destructive force, mind, who destroys in the most terrifying and salutary way. If property is the simultaneous desire and bane of the bourgeoisie, then this guy is jeopardizing the whole system. The floor opens right up, and the whole world falls through it! This exact thing happened in Ronald Neame’s The Horse’s Mouth, as I recall. That’s a fine and meaningful set piece. But this forebear, which may not be that sophisticated and certainly has no pretentions, probably says it all more effectively, and more dangerously besides.