Clare's Criterion Collection

Here Is My Criterion Collection. See What I Have Bought & Read My Reviews. Follow Me As I Explore My Collection.

Review # 24 – Clean, Shaven

clean shavenSpine # 354

Available on DVD


  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Lodge Kerrigan
  • Audio commentary featuring Steven Soderbergh interviewing Kerrigan
  • A Subjective Assault: Lodge Kerrigan’s “Clean, Shaven”, a new video essay, written and narrated by critic Michael Atkinson
  • The film’s original soundtrack, composed by Hahn Rowe, and selections from the film’s final audio mix (all downloadable as MP3 files)
  • Trailer
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Plus: A new essay by film critic Dennis Lim

    New cover by Eric Skillman

Clean, Shaven is not an easy film to watch but it is one that absolutely deserves our time. The subject of schizophrenia has been portrayed in various films/TV shows over the years and that will no doubt thankfully continue. I will not pretend that I have expertise in the world of psychology but this is one of, if not the best depictions I’ve ever seen.

Through a combination of imagery and sound, Clean, Shaven takes us right into the heart of the taboo subject of mental illness.

We follow Peter Winter, a man recently released from an Institution as he sets off to find his young Daughter but with every step he encounters a hurdle. He has an uncaring Mother who chooses to ignore the suffering of her Son and offers him no support or understanding. There is a scene at the library; Peter loses control yet no one asks if he is ok, the one person who does approach him tells him to leave. For me that reflects the everyday struggle and isolation of real-life sufferers and in ever-increasing austerity world, their needs are not met.

The physical appearance of Peter is striking. His pasty skin colour and lifeless eyes gives schizophrenia a face and it is one you cannot forget. He constantly scratches at his skin and in one gruesome scene believes there is a transmitter under his fingernail

The sound too plays a monumental part of this film. Radio static, old broadcasts, voices from within power cables, they all add up to create an audio pounding that throws you off, I felt as if I was actually inside the mind of a schizophrenic. It is constant, unsettling, frenetic and disorienting; you become Peter Winter.

It is really hard to write down how brilliant this film is. It makes you feel uneasy yet it is so educational. I was going to look on YouTube for a few clips to post but I could not find ones that do the film justice. The only way to fully appreciate this film is to invest 79 minutes and watch it. Hopefully you will come away from the film having more of an understanding about how mental illness can affect not just the sufferer but also everyone around them.


The audio and visual mix for this film is amazing and a fascinating look into the mind of a sufferer of schizophernia.  It is worth buying the Criterion even though it is only DVD.  The interview with Director Lodge Kerrigan by Oscar winning Director and fellow Criterion member Steven Soderbergh (who I met in 2013) also makes this film a worthwhile purchase.

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