After having spent the morning with his lover, a hitman goes to work to help his boss take care of business. His first job is to get rid of a woman, as the boss doesn't kill women himself, but it turns out that this woman is the wife of his boss.
We might just have reviewed two films by Azerbaijani filmmaker Tofiq Rzayev previously ("Akibet" and "Girl in the Woods"), but quickly it's becoming a frequent name on this site with "The Cleaner" getting a review now, and another upcoming review in the near future. Rzayev creates solid pieces of work with his own little touch to them, but I wouldn't say I've been showering him with compliments. "The Cleaner", however, is definitely his best work so far that we've covered, simply by telling a compelling story in just a few scenes.
The short film starts with a romance between a man and a woman. Their relationship is fresh and exciting, but the guy has to leave home to go to work. He, Fatih, is a good man, but his work is far from as noble: he's a hitman. He works for a boss who wants his gang of hitmen to grow beyond the competition, but he stands by his rule of not killing women himself. This is where our guy comes in. The boss has a woman waiting to be executed in the other room, and it turns out to be the wife of the boss.
The intrigue in "The Cleaner" is extremely basic and is essentially grounded in romance, but it doesn't make it any less thrilling. Seeing as it is just 10 minutes, it's the perfect length for a small dose of intrigue, though I don't necessarily think that the last scene was required. Despite going on just a minute too long, the short film is quick and to the point, having the perfect amount of build up and backstory to bring us into its drama. It's essentially all you need from a crime short like this.
Tofiq Rzayev is shaping up to be an interesting storyteller, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that it would be great if we were presented with more movies from countries like Azerbaijan. "The Cleaner" is well worth checking out. It's just the right amount of romance, drama and crime thriller to be entertaining.