Clean Break Movie Review

Written by Becky Roberts


Official Website

Directed by Tricia Lee
Written by Corey Brown
2014, 85 minutes, Not Rated

Tianna Nory as Tracy
Samy Osman as Cam
Sean Kaufmann as Scott
Serge Plourde as Dan
Rachelle Corbell as Emma



Housemates Cam (Samy Osman), Scott (Sean Kaufmann) and Dan (Serge Plourde) are the perfect fit. Working dead-end jobs to fund each night’s party, the boozy trio live by the number one rule of no commitment, hooking up with girls and ditching them the next day. That’s until Tracy (Tianna Nory) comes onto the scene and starts dating Scott. Before long, it’s the woman in the house who makes the rules, and Cam and Dan’s fate to find out what happens if they’re broken. As for Scott, he learns the hard way that there is no such thing as a clean break where Tracy is concerned.

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Shown at a sold-out screening at the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival in November, Clean Break is the provocative story of a psychotic woman who enters relationships with men and manipulates them in whatever way she can to make her happy. And, simply put, conveys one message: always do what the woman says (that, or never enter a relationship with one!)

There’s no doubt that director Tricia Lee’s feature debut reveals similarities with The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992), as her protagonist hides her deceitful motives and often murderous activities behind the mask of the prim and proper family woman. A female exerting control and power over a group of male subjects often makes for a captivating watch, as masterfully exemplified by the legendary Rebecca De Mornay in the aforementioned horror and in Mother’s Day (2010). Nory too portrays this with impressive panache and style, while the three male leads bring delight by resisting her false charm and rebelling against her unfair demands.

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The character of Tracy may be vindictive, and a pre-credit murder reveals her cyclical nature, but a massive gap in the potential and substance of the story is left gaping: context. We meet Tracy in the present as the serial killing girlfriend, embodying the serial killer by ‘masking’ her inner identity and fitting into everyday life. But her past and development into this psyche is completely ignored and you can’t help but feel short changed in its lack of psychological depth and capacity.

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Nevertheless, its style is slick, the slow unfold mild-mannered, and the bloody torture playful. The ‘break’ up is certainly not a clean one. Though not a particularly complex script, which sometimes falters with occasional fluffy dialogue, it charms with dramatic twists and turns in character focus, and sustains a titillating journey to see which character(s) comes out on top. Having picked up multiple awards for its dramatic flair, as well as her second feature, Silent Retreat, triumphing as the Best Canadian Feature at Toronto After Dark 2013, Lee looks to be making a name for herself in the genre, and quickly too.

Video, Audio and Special Features:

Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.


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