Michael Clayton Movie Review – The Truth Can Be Adjusted

Michael Clayton brings back the Clooney in his serious form like his two Oscar nominated movies, Syriana and Good Night and Good Luck. It’s directed by Tony Gilroy who also was the screenwriter behind the Bourne Trilogy. This movie allows Gilroy to show off his hidden talents. It’s a slow and somber movie with lots of occasional brilliant writing. It’s not going to be one of those movies the world will remember but it will show the world he’s more then a screenwriter. Clooney fans will love his appearance and enjoy this.

The movie stars George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack. Clooney is almost in ever scene of the movie, even the ending credits.

Michael Clayton, played by George Clooney, is an in-house fixer who does all the dirty work for his boss in a large corporate law firm in New York. Due to past history Clayton is tied to the firm by debt. Meanwhile Karen Crowder, Tilda Swinton, rests on the multi-million dollar settlement of a class action suite that is seemingly successful by the firm Michael Clayton is working for.   Suddenly the attorney Arthur Edens, Tom Wilkinson, sabotages the case and now Clayton has to come in and fix this big problem.

Michael Clayton formally was a detective who now works as a “consultant” for his law firm. Through the whole movie he’s constantly at odds with life and his identity. This is similar to Gilroy’s Borne. Clayton is between being a cop or a lawyer, family or business, and etc. Clooney does a wonderful job immersing himself in the complexities of Clayton and carries the film in his most nuanced performance ever.

Clayton works with Marty Bach, played by Sydney Pollack, who is the head of the law firm. Pollack perfectly fills the authority, masculinity, and intelligence needed for his part. One of the top partners goes crazy Arthur Edens, played by Tom Wilkinson. He stripes naked during a deposition hearing and runs through a parking lot with snow. Karen Crowder, played by Tilda Swinton, is the chief legal executive for one of Marty Bach’s most important clients who is being sued for poisonous pollution. She has a similar feel as Clayton, having powerful wardrobe and seemingly every hair in place. With this amazing casting the film benefits greatly. If they were switched out, the energy and tension in the movie might not be the same.

Gilroy is great at handling emotions and uses a unique story telling that will pull you through the movie. Instead of telling the story straight through he dares to bring us into the middle of it. This is good at increasing our interest by making us involving in the action. He then fills us in with the background as we are running along with the film with flashbacks.

The movie has its formulas and clichés like the fixer who can solve all problems except his own, the company lackey who redeems himself by taking a stand, and etc but it’s structured in an unpredictable way that is very stimulating. Gilroy builds a strong sense of the corporate power while still paying attention to the frail messy human bodies underneath the power. These things give the movie a hint of substance instead of just being a generic formulaic movie the whole way through.

This movie was directed by Tony Gilroy who also was the screenwriter. It runs for 119 minutes. It was released September 28th. Rated R.


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