Review: The Cleaners makes a mess of its intriguing subject

THE CLEANERS (Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck). 88 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (June 22). See listing. Rating: NNIn a cubicle.


THE CLEANERS (Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck). 88 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (June 22). See listing. Rating: NN

In a cubicle farm in Manila, contractors spend hours and hours scouring social-media sites for objectionable images, determining whether or not they violate a given sites terms of service. The Cleaners sits down with these people and examines what this job does to a person.

Or at least thats the pitch. In practice, Hans Block and Moritz Riesewiecks film is a frustratingly superficial treatment of its subject, failing to really push into the questions it raises and unwilling (or unable) to show us any of the images with which these content moderators struggle.

Theres also a weird blind spot about the religious culture of the Philippines one of the moderators defines the job as looking for and eliminating sin, and The Cleaners just lets it hang there without going any further.

Still, if you want a movie thats mostly made up of screens glowing with unspoken menace, The Cleaners is definitely that.

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