Originally made in 2011, Cleaning Up has had a bit of resurgence when last year it was released as a download through the website of Big Finish, a production company usually associated with Doctor Who audio plays than tangible films. Big Finish have been quite upfront about the sale of the short film, indicating that they’re pushing for a feature film. So, on the basis of what’s already out, what can we expect to see?
Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Doctor Who) is Mr Jackson; a handlebar moustache in a trench coat and a highly skilled hitman who answers to a person simply known as K. After a botched hit, Mr Jackson ends up at a dilapidated B&B run by Mrs Pellman; a man-eater in an ill-fitting low-cut top played by Louise Jameson (Doctor Who, EastEnders). There he struggles with his conscience, whilst continuing to carry out of his orders.
Written and directed by Simon and Thomas Guerrier respectively, there’s a touch of the Ealing Studios in Cleaning Up. When hitman and landlady first meet, it’s hard not to immediately think of The Ladykillers, though Mrs. Wilberforce would never be this predatory. A clever script (that ending will get ya) and brilliant performances (Gatiss’ killer for hire surveying his hotel room of crocheted bedding is priceless) certainly work in Cleaning Up’s favour. Admittedly, both the protagonists’ pasts are never fully revealed, but they still come off as fully-rounded individuals.
All in all, if we consider this short to be a sample of what’s to be done, then there should be enough meat on the bone if Cleaning Up does eventually get stretched out to a 90 minute feature.