Sunday, April 05, 2009

"Sunshine Cleaning" (2009) - Movie Review

The well paying business of crime scene clean up in “Sunshine Cleaning” is not used as a catharsis for the sisters Rose (Amy Adams) and Norah (Emily Blunt). Director Christine Jeffs thought it did because Rose explains that her work makes a small difference in the left over lives of the houses they clean in a baby shower. An awkward fall of Norah in to the mattress drained in blood or bodily fluid and Rose sitting with a widow unable to bear in erasing the rested place of her husband are the few points of interest in the otherwise mediocre and mostly a good marketing intriguing plot of this clean up service.

Rose is the aspiring go-getter and self help book thumping woman loosing herself in the high school days of glory. She takes pride in the hard work she does and takes it as a license to be the self righteous snob to her sister Norah. Norah on the other hand is a pothead taking similar washed up pride in being that antonym to her elder sister and the outcast of searching the non-existent uniqueness outside of her mind. Each think the other one is pathetic but when left in a restroom and a mirror, they see the truth. In between them is the bond of family in terms of Rose’s son Oscar (Jason Spevack) and their father (Alan Arkin).

Rose is so into her cheerleading days that she still sleeps with her high school sweet heart. He is a cop Mac (Steve Zahn) having less of a trouble in bringing the quarter back stardom persuasion towards Rose when she begins to wonder the after class stays in a road side motel. The classes she takes are for becoming a realtor while her current job of cleaning service only tears up the wound of being failed herself. It reaches it pinnacle when her client is a high school friend with the ideal yuppie life. She takes up the off hand reference what Mac told about cleaning up a crime scene to put her son in better school.

Is there now a rule book for independent films? Apparently there is because a ravishing yellow colour, trying to find comedy in the dreadful places and right down to the back ground score there is a step book approach. And a lazy adult’s inability to explain the proper usage of radio in the van is another sappy fiasco to let Oscar and Rose talk over to “Heaven”. While the film is full of independent cliché's, a particular instant became this deciding factor for removing myself from the film. After hearing that Mac’s wife is pregnant through her sister, a couple of shots later we see Rose filling up soda in a fountain machine. Out of nowhere I thought, “So this is where she has to see the pregnant wife of her lover and then while staring would overflow the soda in her cup” and bingo, there they were with a very made up stupid follow up by that character to Rose. It takes such a confrontation from a character we never see of to Rose to shake her off the emotionally charged illogical behaviour. Talk about unconvincing scenes.

Amy Adams should consider changing her way of laughing wide. It reminds me of all the cherubic characters she played. In this film there needs to be that dark layer of the character being drawn to this mistake of sleeping with a married person. The scenes with her and Steve Zahn while is devoid of emotional understanding does not also have the physical charge of their attraction. What drives these two people to go after each other with a clear understanding of their behaviour?

Rose is getting dragged down by her sister and the surrounding system where she works on. From couple of stories I have heard myself, the school system in US always identify a troubled kid with naming psychological mumbo jumbo and load them with drugs. In that Oscar’s case seems valid but in the following scenes, a put up and non-fitting sequence is given to establish his intelligence.

But more than anything the debacle of the film will be the approach in the sisters looking on the crime scene. It is gruesome, gory and of course gross to puke them out. When they enter the first crime scene there is blood spattered over the bath tile. The crime is a woman shooting her partner’s finger. Without that explanation there is an absolute terror and it gets subsided by the cause coming into light. It is too dark of a place to find comedy and the connection which is supposed to be the turning point for these two ladies does not vanish but it never appeared to start with.

The film begins with an unknown man entering a gun store with a load and pops himself up. There we see Mac and another cleaning guy mentioning the money involved. Without this scene with Mac telling about the opportunity the audience would have believed the money in it as a simple arithmetic calculation. I know why they put it so that there is sense of confusion, thus a curiosity. Of course it it was done right. The manual for the film making is followed precisely and thus cleaning the originality of it. And never let a irresponsible character for a crucial clean up and never ever provide them with a matchstick in an empty house.

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