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Michael Clayton
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sydney Pollack
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Warner Bros.
Web Site:
Kiddie Movie: They'd probably be bored out of their skulls.
Date Movie: If they appreciate a detailed thriller.
Gratuitous Sex: Tilda Swinton is in a bra, but not in a sexual way.  Just some talk about things.
Gratuitous Violence: People die and a car explodes, but as weird as it sounds it's not violent.
Action: Not a lot of chasin' going on.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: The ending is great.
Memorable Quote: The phone rings and the dude goes to Michael "Is that the police?" "No, they don't call."
Directed By: Tony Gilroy
Produced By: Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox, Steven Samuels, Kerry Orent

Michael Clayton
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - R

It's 2:00 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
At the end of "Michael Clayton," as the credits started to roll, they show Michael Clayton (George Clooney) just sitting, reflective, in the back of a New York City cab, as he just handed the driver fifty bucks and told the driver to just drive until itís used up. I didnít stick around for the entire credits, and I highly doubt it did happen especially for how serious the movie is, but how perfect would it have been if, at the end of the credits, George Clooney looks directly into the camera, sticks out his tongue, and grins. I guess thatís why Iím not a filmmaker.

Hereís the storyÖ

Michael Clayton is whatís known in legal circles as a "fixer," the guy first called when high profile clients do something stupid, i.e. drunk driving, hit and run, etc., to get the ball rolling to minimize the damage. He works at a high-powered law firm that is representing U/North, an agrochemical company in a class-action lawsuit for making some chemicals that killed some people. The lead attorney is Arthur (Tom Wilkinson), and rather than take his meds he goes slightly crazy, and as we find out, has actually been working to sabotage the case because he knows U/North is guilty.

So the firm calls on Michael to get Arthur under control, but Michael is having his own problems at the same time, namely trying to be a good dad, save his ass from a bad bar investment, try to stay in control of his gambling problem, and wrestling with his own conscience. Meanwhile, Karen (Tilda Swinton) chief counsel for U/North, is pulling out all of the stops to protect her company and her reputation, and finds herself immersed in an unfamiliar world of covert operations.

I think Iíll just leave the movie synopsis at that because detailing any more starts to give away some major plot points, and for this movie, being a suspense flick, itís all about not knowing too much before you watch the movie to be able to enjoy it. The wonder I do have is other than critics (who have been praising it), and film buffs, I donít think the average movie-goer, at least not todayís average movie-goer, will like the film that much. The reason I say that is "Michael Clayton" is a suspense/thriller/drama in the highest sense of those terms, with multiple story lines, lots of slower-paced moments developing those story lines, and even though thereís that scene of Michael running through the woods in the trailer, I will spoil it a tad saying heís not being chased which is what a lot of moviegoers would want.

The thing is, "Michael Clayton" is a really good movie for what it sets out to achieve, and the movie has some of the best performances of the year, from Tilda Swinton showing the apparent toughness of her outside persona to the debilitating inside persona knowing the courses of action she has set in motion, to Tom Wilkinson portraying the lawyer Arthur who some might say "loses it," but actually just seems to be looking for his moment of clarity. And as much as I have to be jealous of George Clooney for being the ladies man he is, his portrayal of Michael Clayton is nothing but perfect. From the dealings with his son, to the dealings with his family, to the wonder in his eyes at his career choice, to the scene with the hit-and-run dude, Clooney lets us feel the pain Clayton is constantly going through.

As far as liking "Michael Clayton" I donít see too many people coming out of the theater in the middle of the pack. I see some people who would have rather seen George Clooney involved in some sort of gunfight, coming out of the thinking saying the movie is a piece of crap, while the other group, knowing what they are getting, will find "Michael Clayton" as a well-crafted thriller that actually thrives because their wasnít a gunfight. Me, I liked the film, give it 4 stars out of 5, but will understand if you think it sucked.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


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