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51 Reviews
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard-edged mix of espionage and extremism
This gritty Brit flick doesn't feature flashy car chases or helicopter chaos. There's minimal explosions and a contained bodycount. This isn't a Hollywood blockbuster. It's a thoughtful, thought-provoking thriller; shot at street level, gritty and violent, in a bleak and barren current-day London

Cleanskin features a sterling performance from Sean Bean as a...
Published 24 months ago by Rowena Hoseason

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More thriller/drama than action movie but still good
A small British thriller that looks at the hard issue of extremist terrorism in the current world.

What could have been controversial is handled surprisingly well, as both sides are given screen time, and some justification, although clearly terrorism is not justified, the film does at least attempt to show how young men may be led astray to do suicide...
Published 21 months ago by chelios1981


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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard-edged mix of espionage and extremism, 24 April 2012
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This gritty Brit flick doesn't feature flashy car chases or helicopter chaos. There's minimal explosions and a contained bodycount. This isn't a Hollywood blockbuster. It's a thoughtful, thought-provoking thriller; shot at street level, gritty and violent, in a bleak and barren current-day London

Cleanskin features a sterling performance from Sean Bean as a hard-man undercover agent. He's well matched by his opposite number, Abhin Galeya, who plays Ash, a radicalised British Muslim man. There are two other stand-out turns; one of them especially spine-chilling when an experienced Middle Eastern activist comes to the UK to wreck a little revenge and show the home-grown `freedom fighters' what will be required of them in the long run. The following scenes would make anyone flinch and demonstrate not just a determination to be ready to die for a cause, nor to kill those who are perceived to be involved, but to follow the path of violence to its inevitable end.
Paced as an action-thriller, Cleanskin uses flashbacks to skilfully develop its underlying themes. It shows the emotional manipulation of the agents on each side of the conflict. Most are motivated by grief and revenge, unable to let go of the grievance and so perpetuating the violence. The protagonists exude angry nationalism and repressed rage - but the film doesn't dwell too long on them, and wraps its arguments around a fairly standard, solid plot familiar from every `who can you trust' espionage-thriller.
It does hit a few off notes -- the Muslim cleric who radicalises his flock is something of a cliché -- but the subplot involving Ash's English girlfriend is gripping. We understand more of his motivation watching her drunken university years through is eyes. He drifts away from the party crowd, the flirting and jeering and braggadiccio, and becomes altogether more serious. And more sinister.
You'd expect the writer to tie this plot thread up with a stereotypical conclusion: him a terrorist, her a happily married mother of three. Instead nothing is quite so clear cut.

On top of all that, you have the main plot `stop the bombers, save the world' which drives the action and Sean Bean's character onwards.
A clever, entertaining and engaging movie. It might not be art, but it's definitely worth two hours of your time.
8/10
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More thriller/drama than action movie but still good, 4 July 2012
By 
A small British thriller that looks at the hard issue of extremist terrorism in the current world.

What could have been controversial is handled surprisingly well, as both sides are given screen time, and some justification, although clearly terrorism is not justified, the film does at least attempt to show how young men may be led astray to do suicide bombings.

Shot stylishly with cold London landscapes, and also filmed with a no holds barred approach to violence, this is gritty film making.

Sean Bean as the vengeful ex soldier on the trail of the would be terrorists is brutal and aggressive (Right up there with his performance in the Nick Love film Outlaw), and when he's on screen it's hard not to take notice added with an emotional element to his character that drives him it's a great performance.

The script is surprisingly intelligent, handling a sensitive subject, and the action, which is perhaps the wrong way to term the film, is brutal, but this is no Hollywood blockbuster, so it's contained to a few brutal gun shoot outs and some very, very brutal fights, that are filmed with urgency of a Bourne film.

In terms of look and style, it came across as a mixture of the BBC tv series Spooks, a little bit of Bourne, and with it's political/religious debates, may be the Bruce Willis/Denzel Washington film The Siege.

A film that shows low budget, does not mean film making skills have to drop to a lower standard.

Well recommended, just don't expect non stop action.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film, 11 July 2012
Great film based in London, about an MI5 agent/team and a terrorist cell. You can see how the cell starts, as the film goes back in time. It's "Spooks" but in a film format, and without all the gadget wizardry!!!

Sean Bean makes the film, worth a look. It's not James Bond, this "could happen" today, which is worrying!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever & well acted, 15 July 2012
This was a great film. Atmospheric & dark. I did have to go back & watch a couple of scenes as I'd missed an important part of the plotline that made the ending confusing on first watch, but whn I'd made sense of that it proved to be a very satisfying experience. Sean Bean is Sean Bean as one of the main characters but is perfect for the moody role. I paid under a tenner for this & felt it was a good buy & I shall probably watch the whole film through again in a couple of months time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pawns, 7 Sep 2013
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This is a symmetrical film where a jihadi terror cell and its counter-terror counterpart (two ferocious hitmen) struggle through the politics and scheming of their respective controllers. Very little is as it appears as the two groups move towards a climax that does not occur where one might expect. You will need to keep your wits about you. Lots of good acting and some real attention to the reasons both sides have for what they do. The film is violent in a coldly believable fashion (no guns with 50 round magazines, or bullets that leave no wounds). If the Bond reboot seeks to bring home the image of the stone killer this goes one further. Excellent cast and use of location.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bean plays a brittle Bond., 17 Mar 2013
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Sean Bean is one of the most underrated actors around.He brings a vulnerbility to most charactors that he plays,from Napoleonic hero to super secret agent.
This is an extremely well scripted and plotted production which has Bean playing the role of an agent in the security services who is being used to further the agenda of his bosses.
Not only is he tracking a terrorist cell but ultimately he is guarding his back against unknown forces from within.
The plot is well crafted and keeps your interest right up to the down-beat conclusion.
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sean Bean and Charlotte Rampling played good leading roles, 1 Feb 2013
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The product was in good condition and played without a problem.

The story line was well written and acted. It very much portrays how we suspect world governments are working and the difficulty we have in understanding what their real agenda is and reminds us that two wrongs don't make a right.

I bought this video because it has 15 rating. However, I felt due to the graphic/violent elements it ought to be rated 18
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 29 Jan 2013
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I bought this DVD because Sean Bean was featured in the leading role, and Bean normally has presence that shines from the screen. Not here, he doesn't get the chance.
This flick is not much more than a mess of mindless violence hung loosely on a weak plot about Muslim terrorists confronted by a lunatic security service. It takes place in a London apparently devoid of police officers. That said, there are some fine cameo roles; and perhaps with a little sharper writing and editing, not to forget better direction, might have been something more than a run of the mill B movie.
It is a good example of the weakness inherent in one man writing, producing and directing a film. The absence of clashing temperaments constricts vision, and blunts the edge that might have been honed by criticism, a weakness shared by other propaganda films.
It also suffers from the current fashion of male actors wearing a four day growth of beard, which I would have thought somewhat outre by now.
Teenagers will probably love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Above Average Modern Brit Action Flick, 25 Jan 2013
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
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There are many reviews up here, on Amazon, from rubbish to brilliant.

Sean Bean IS Bean (Sean, not the Mr Bean, that's briefly seen on TV) and that's not a bad thing - you know what you are getting with him and here he delivers. Charlotte Rampling adds gravitas and class as a top MI6 boss, though she doesn't have much screen time.

The violence is where it needs to be, story-wise and very well done. Strong, to the point, it pulls no punches but is fairly restrained in its quantity. The London locations make it very real to us Brits and whilst a little 'TV Episode-ish' at times (Spooks has been uttered, more than once) this is a quality, extra-length feature episode.

The story, about Muslims living in London and terrorist cells is both relevant and of course, controversial and everyone will have their own opinion and stance on this and so I'm not 'going there'. However, in comparison to those TV dramas mentioned before, this one seems a lot more complete and sensical and thus, more satisfying, overall.

However, the star has to be almost unknown writer/director Hadi Hajaig. I could find almost nothing about him on IMDb, but that source estimated the film's budget as a mere 2 million. That might sound a lot to you and me, but it really is peanuts, especially when filming in - and over - one of the most expensive cities in the world - and for a 105 min feature film and decent cast, with a couple of real stars, too. At no time did I feel the direction lacking, a bit unexceptional and ordinary, maybe but it always did what it had to. I also found the music suitably rousing/poignant, too.

I saw this on Sky Movies and whilst it was good overall, both the subject matter (a bit grizzly, to be honest) and that it didn't scream 'watch me again' suggests that this is a good rental or TV watch - and thus 3.5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth a Watch, 27 Aug 2012
Even though I'm Sean Bean biased this film is well worth a watch and one of the better British spy type thrillers you'll see. Ignore anything along the lines of saying it's a bad Spooks, it's well above anything Spooks has churned out and unlike Spooks this is believable. As I said, well worth a watch and very good to boot.
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Cleanskin [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]
Cleanskin [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free] by Hadi Hajaig (Blu-ray - 2012)
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