Courtesy IFC Films

This grim movie presents Adrien Brody’s character, a garbageman named Clean, as the wronged party in an unforgiving world. His tearful nights, plagued with regret over the fallout of a violent past, punctuate dull days of trying to be good. In between trash routes, he brings prepared lunches to his irresponsible neighbor’s granddaughter Dianda (Chandler DuPont) and refurbishes cast-off scrap to sell to a pawnbroker played by RZA. The lonely martyr on the fringe that is Clean finds a nemesis in the practical, God-fearing street kingpin Michael, portrayed with trademark ugly panache by Glenn Fleshler, whose seafood market moves drugs through fish guts. Festering beneath these foes on the moral hierarchy are the awkwardly dimensionless, mostly Black inhabitants of the neighborhood stoops, who corrupt Michael’s son and terrorize Dianda, earning them the business end of Clean’s weapon of choice, a wrench. Michael’s wrongdoing faces its restitution another way, as Brody the Carhartt-jacketed avenger of humanity solders together a shotgun-bazooka to raise hell with, the stuff of a painful montage that ends with Clean blowtorching a cigarette aflame.

Every great actor wants his chance to be Clint Eastwood, and for Brody, this is that movie. He cowrote and coproduced it, the Buick Grand National is the actor’s personal car, and the film even features his original score, crude rolling hi-hat and kick action (the stylings, say the credits, of “Brody Beats”) that’s of a sonic piece with the thud of Fleshler’s ball-peen hammer against an unfortunate middleman’s skull and the many awful bludgeonings of Brody’s wrench. Sadly, these stark textures never redeem the film’s tired savior narrative, which would-be poignant moments gesture towards inverting—”It’s hard to tell who’s the saved, and who’s the savior,” goes Brody’s voiceover, as his garbage truck labors up the street toward Dianda’s bicycle—to no avail. 94 min.

In theaters and on demand January 28.