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Hot Docs Review: The Cleaners

The Cleaners is a masterfully executed look into one of the most important conversations of our time, content moderation.

Centralizing around a team of content moderators in Manila, Philippines, The Cleaners sheds a much needed light on the mental extremities of the job, and the controversial place it holds in our tech driven world. The conversation isn’t as simple as that however, as the documentary begins to look at the bigger picture of internet responsibility and who specifically it should fall on.

What The Cleaners does so well is starting conversation. While the documentary is informative and presents it’s own biases, it knows when to draw the line. Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck wrap it all up beautifully with visuals that can only be described as cinematic delights. This documentary feels like an arthouse film, and with wonderful sound design and score, you’ll be hard pressed to believe it’s not at times.

It must be noted that the documentary also holds an extremely clean aesthetic in it’s design elements, a layer of presentation that most docs stumble on. It gives life to the story being read, and creates a polished product that can’t be ignored.

In a time of misinformation, The Cleaners in all of it’s mastery, is beyond topical. It is a necessary moment of reflection that could shape the future of information as we know it.

4.5
Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a Toronto based filmmaker and creative mad man. Legend has it that he spent most of his childhood locked away in a cell beta testing Netflix.