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Cleaner Ending Explained: Who Is the Killer?

‘Cleaner’ is a 2007 thriller film about Tom Cutler, a former police officer who unwittingly becomes involved in a homicide cover-up. The film, directed by Renny Harlin (‘The Misfits,’ follows a whodunit plot while questioning moral extremes. As the story progresses, Tom races against the clock to locate the true perpetrator and avoid being blamed for a crime he did not commit.

However, in the process, he discovers that others close to him are in danger. In the end, Tom’s morality is called into question as he is forced to make difficult decisions. As a result, viewers must be intrigued to learn how Tom navigates the perilous position. In that case, here’s all you need to know about ‘Cleaner’s’ ending. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Cleaner Plot Synopsis

The film begins with Tom Cutler (Samuel L. Jackson), a former cop, discussing his job as a crime scene cleaner. After retiring from the Trenton Police Department, he now runs his own crime scene cleanup business while raising his daughter, Rose, as a single father. He is given the task of cleaning up a luxury home one day. When Tom arrives on the scene, he discovers that the house is empty and the door is locked. The case file directs Tom to enter the house using a key found under a plant. Tom cleans up the house and returns, only to discover that he has not returned the key.

Tom comes to the house the next day to hand over the key and meets the owner, Ann Norcut (Eva Mendes). She is, however, unaware that Tom’s services are being performed. As a result, Tom becomes increasingly dubious of the scenario. Tom finds from his study that the cops did not assign the clean-up. As a result, Tom realizes he has become a part of a crime and that his services have been utilized to cover up a murder. Tom learns through his police buddy, Eddie Lorenzo (Ed Harris), that Ann’s husband, John Norcut, is gone.

John is a key witness in the corruption trial of former police commissioner Robert Vaughn. John vanished just a day before appearing in front of the grand jury, implying foul play. As a result, Tom comes to believe that he was set up to be a part of John’s murder. Ann also tells Tom that John has a ledger with the badge numbers of the dishonest police officers on his payroll. Surprisingly, Tom’s badge number appears on the ledger as well.

When Tom tells Eddie about the scenario, he proposes that he burn the ledger because it demonstrates a motivation for Tom to murder John. Ann, meantime, identifies John’s remains in a morgue. As a result, Tom is forced to uncover the true killer before being charged with John’s murder. Tom’s investigation, however, leads him into a more personal plot than he anticipated. The rest of the plot revolves around Tom’s attempts to unravel the tangled web of criminality and misdirected motivations.

A Better Ending: Who Is the Murderer? Is Tom going to die?

As the story progresses, viewers discover that Ann had a miscarriage. However, Tom discovers at the morgue that John had a vasectomy years before Ann’s pregnancy. As a result, Tom concludes that the child might not be John’s and suspects Ann of having an affair. Tom finds, when discussing the case with Eddie, that Ann and Eddie have a connection through Eddie’s work with a student outreach program. As a result, Tom believes Eddie is Ann’s boyfriend. Furthermore, after carefully studying the issue and all of the evidence, Tom decides that Eddie murdered John.

Tom collaborates with Detective Vargas, who is investigating John’s murder, to apprehend Eddie. Eddie, on the other hand, entices Tom into his home by threatening Tom’s daughter, Rose. Eddie tries to reason with Tom, and the two have a furious argument. Eddie explains that John coerced Ann into having an abortion, and that she did not miscarry. Eddie murdered John and then employed Tom’s services to cover up the crime, feeling robbed of his chance to establish a family.

Tom tries to persuade Eddie to surrender, but Eddie threatens Tom with a gun. Eddie begs that when one is attempting to defend their family, anything is fair. He attempts to use Tom’s background against him in order to justify his actions. Tom, on the other hand, remains silent until the cops arrive. Eddie resolves to shoot Tom after understanding he would be apprehended. Eddie is shot dead by Rose (with Tom’s gun) before he can pull the trigger. Finally, Tom gives the ledger to Vargas, who pledges to burn it. Vargas lets Tom go free while covering up the crime.

Finally, the film’s climax is dependent on the morals of the major characters as they struggle to distinguish between good and wrong. Eddie is convinced that his murder of John was justifiable. He connects his crime to Tom’s previous crime, when Tom did a dirty job for Vaughn. While Tom broke the law to protect his daughter, he did it willingly. Eddie, on the other hand, murdered John out of guilt and vengeance. As a result, his actions are morally reprehensible, and he needs to be punished.

In the end, Rose’s timely intervention saves her father’s life, and she murders Eddie. However, Tom trades the ledger for his and Rose’s freedom, performing yet another morally dubious act. As a result, the finale serves as a reminder of the intricacies of a person’s moral conscience, leaving the spectator to sympathize with Tom and Eddie despite their dubious conduct.

What Became of Tom’s Wife?

Early in the film, viewers learn about the tragedy that has changed Tom and his daughter’s lives. It is established that Tom’s wife has died, although the facts of her death are not revealed until much later. Tom avoids talking about his late wife, especially in front of Rose. While Tom’s actions are justified in that he is attempting to spare Rose from the unpleasant feelings that have arisen as a result of her mother’s death, the actual circumstances of the tragedy are far more profoundly related to Rose.

Tom admits to Ann that his wife and Rose were alone at home one night during a talk. A thief broke into their home and threatened Tom’s wife and Rose. When Tom’s wife attempted to resist, she was shot twice in the chest. Rose, six years old, witnessed her mother’s death. Rose, on the other hand, does not seem to remember much about the episode in the present. As a result, it is evident that Tom avoids discussing his wife for fear of triggering terrible memories for Rose. As Rose experiences a similar predicament, the film’s ending serves as a throwback to the tragedy. Her father is being held at gunpoint this time. Nonetheless, Rose acts heroically and shoots Eddie, averting a repeat of the previous outcome.

Cleaner Ending Explained: Who Is the Killer?
Cleaner Ending Explained: Who Is the Killer?


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