Clean Break is an engaging, if mostly predictable genre effort with star Tianna Nori giving the film a much needed dash of sinister delight. The Toronto based thriller takes off when Scott (Sean Kaufmann), an out-of-work but likable everyman , accepts roommates Cam (Sam Osman) and Dan’s (Serge Plourde) invite to a work party. He awkwardly meets Nori’s Tracy, and they soon bond over Shakespeare, becoming inseparable. However, best friend Cam sees Scott changing and suspects the worst of Tracy. With Scott’s best interests at stake, they find themselves in a no holds barred shoving match, willing the other to crack first.
Corey Brown’s script crudely shifts from The War of the Roses styled drama into a pulpy slasher flick. Compromise isn’t an option when it comes to a perfect relationship, and it becomes crystal clear Tracy will kill for love. Nori’s performance earns undivided attention, repressing a darker side simmering just below the surface. Her innocent persona vehemently clashes with Osman’s modern Don Juan, who exposes the way-too-serious backstory. Director Tricia Lee seems to grasp the material at hand but defers to the editing suite to generate suspense. Moreover Robert Walsh’s cinematography looks amateurish, as if experimenting with digital photography.
Even with the final act feeling just a bit too predictable, Clean Break retains a good deal of intrigue right to the end resulting in a very entertaining, albeit brisk watch. (Eric Marchen)
Saturday, November 30th, 9:30pm, Carlton Cinemas