Cleanskin (2012)


Cleanskin (2012)

Cleanskin: Ewan (Sean Bean) is a British Secret Service Agent faced with the task of pursuing and eliminating a British born Asian suicide bomber Ash (Abhin Galeya) and his terrorist cell, whilst Ash wrestles with his conscience and reflects on his journey to terrorism.
IMDb   6.3 /10
TheMovieDb    5.8 /10
FilmAffinity   5.2 /10
Director Hadi Hajaig
Writer Hadi Hajaig
Release Date2012-09-10
Runtime1h 48min
GenreAction, Crime, Drama
Content RatingNot Rated (Not Rated)
AwardsAwards1 nomination
CompanyThe UK Film Studio
Ewanas Ewan
Charlotteas Charlotte
Markas Mark
Silas Carson
Silas Carson
Aminas Amin
Scottas Scott
Harryas Harry
Tariq Jordan
Tariq Jordan
Paulas Paul
Chris Ryman
Chris Ryman
Yussifas Yussif
Sgt. Glen Conlanas Sgt. Glen Conlan
Ibrahimas Ibrahim
Adelas Adel
Nickas Nick
Simon Wright
Simon Wright
Mr. Tunneyas Mr. Tunney

Cleanskin (film)

Cleanskin is a 2012 British spy thriller film written and directed by Hadi Hajaig and starring Sean Bean, Abhin Galeya, Charlotte Rampling, James Fox, Tuppence Middleton, Shivani Ghai and Michelle Ryan. The story is set in London. The film's title, "cleanskin", is a term for an undercover operative unknown to his or her targets, or, as more commonly used in the United Kingdom following the London bombings, an extremist with no previous convictions, so therefore unknown to national security's services.


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Harry, a British arms dealer, is seen in bed with a prostitute named Rena. While getting dressed, Rena picks up Harry's pistol from the nightstand, and he chastises her for "playing" with it. Harry's bodyguard Ewan is an MI6 Secret Service Agent. Harry and Ewan travel to a bank, transporting a briefcase of Semtex. The men are followed by two terrorists, Ash and Ibrahim. Ibrahim approaches Harry and Ewan from the top of a staircase, shooting at them. After Ash shoots Ewan twice, Harry tries to shoot Ash, only to discover there are no bullets in his gun, as Rena had removed them. Ash kills Harry and takes the briefcase of Semtex. However, Ewan manages to shoot Ash in the arm; but, before he can apprehend him, Ash returns fire and escapes with the briefcase.

Ash sews the stolen Semtex into a jacket along with a detonation device. He gives the jacket to Adel, who goes to a popular London restaurant and detonates the bomb. Being the only person who knows about the stolen explosives, Ewan is tasked by his two Secret Service superiors Charlotte and Scott to find and eliminate the terrorists who created the bomb. His mission is off-the-books and unknown even within the Secret Service. He is given an assistant, rookie agent Mark. Ewan finds Rena and beats her for any information she has about Harry. She tells Ewan and Mark that a man she frequented, Paul, paid her for information about Harry and to unload his gun. Ewan, Mark, and Rena go to Paul's house where Rena tries to aid Ewan and Mark in capturing Paul. However, Paul kills her and attempts to detonate a suicide jacket but is killed by Ewan.

At a cafè, Ash sees Kate, his former lover, and they exchange numbers. A series of flashbacks are shown from six years ago, where it is revealed that Ash and Kate were dating at university, where they both studied law. At the school, Nabil, a Muslim extremist, befriends Ash and asks him to join the pro-Muslim student group he heads. Ash and his friend Yussif join the group and are exposed to Nabil's anti-Western teachings. Later that night, when Ash is at a bar, he sees Nick drinking and hitting on Kate. He argues with her but ultimately forgives her. Ash returns to the bar the following day and sees Nick, who insults him and says that he slept with Kate. Ash beats Nick up and goes to his apartment and breaks up with Kate. Nabil continues to brainwash Ash.

In the present, Ewan and Mark are sent to an abandoned building they are told is the home of a terrorist. Ewan confronts the man they find there and interrogates him. The man begs for mercy, but Ewan sets him on fire and leaves him to burn to death. Searching the building, Ewan takes the man's jacket.

A series of flashbacks cut to three years earlier, where Nabil senses Ash's readiness to do more for the cause. Nabil tells Ash to participate in the punishment of Sgt. Glen Conlan, an ex-soldier living alone on a farm, who he says tortured and killed Muslims throughout the Middle East. An experienced foreign operative named Amin is flown into the UK; Ash and his friend Yussif are instructed to act as his local guides and assistants. They travel to Conlan's farm. Yussif confronts Conlan in a barn but is stabbed in the face. Ash then chases Conlan and knocks him unconscious. Ash searches the house and finds a woman with a baby but does not tell Amin about them. Amin then searches the house again and kills the woman and her baby. Ash and Amin take Conlan to an abandoned building, where Ash films Amin beheading Conlan.

Ewan and Mark go to a housing estate, where they are noticed by Ash and another man wearing a bulky jacket. The unknown man takes off running, and Ash gets away on his motorcycle. Mark chases after the unknown man and shoots him dead. Mark and Ewan are told by Charlotte that the Secret Service has found out about their covert mission and is hunting them. Later, when Ewan is sleeping in a hotel, Mark breaks in and tries to kill him. After a fight, Ewan stabs Mark; but Mark refuses to tell Ewan who sent him. Ewan then kills Mark. Ewan realises he is now alone and must stop the terror cell before he is killed. Using Mark's earpiece, he discovers that whoever Mark was working for is facilitating the next bombing.

Ash and Kate get back together after six years of being apart. However, Ash sees his work with Nabil as more important and leaves Kate for a final suicide mission. Nabil tasks Ash with killing the head of a pro-Iraqi War think tank at his daughter's wedding in London. Ash makes a video explaining his reasons justifying his planned suicide attack. He travels to the wedding reception but is confronted by Ewan. Both are wounded in a fight, but Ash gets away. Disguising himself as a waiter, Ash makes his way to the reception's head table. Moments before Ash detonates his jacket bomb, he is shot by Ewan. After disabling the detonator, Ewan leaves the hotel. At the exit, Ewan notices men in suits delivering luggage on a trolley into the hotel lobby and then driving away from the hotel. Moments later, a bomb hidden in this luggage detonates in the hotel lobby, killing Nabil's targets.

In the epilogue, Ewan finds a safe deposit box key in the jacket of the man he killed earlier. He finds the box and its contents: a folder and video camera. He watches the tape, which shows footage of the man Ewan set on fire saying that he is an English citizen named Hussein Malik, who is an undercover Secret Service agent like Ewan. Ewan, after seeing the file and recording, finds something he recognizes, a lighter. He realises that Charlotte hired Mark to kill him and framed Scott for being corrupt to cover any trace of her covert mission. Ewan confronts Charlotte with the lighter at her countryside mansion and kills her, framing her death as a suicide.


  • Sean Bean as Ewan
  • Abhin Galeya as Ash
  • Charlotte Rampling as Charlotte McQueen
  • Peter Polycarpou as Nabil
  • Tom Burke as Mark
  • Tuppence Middleton as Kate
  • Michelle Ryan as Emma
  • Sam Douglas as Harry
  • James Fox as Scott Catesby
  • Tariq Jordan as Paul
  • Shivani Ghai as Rena
  • Chris Ryman as Yussif


As of 3 February 2014, Cleanskin held a critical approval rating of 53% on Rotten Tomatoes.