Michael Clayton

2008-07-28 10:54
What it's about:

Attorney and "fixer" Michael Clayton (George Clooney) has been with one of the largest corporate law firms in New York for 15 years, but has never been made partner because the company considers him too valuable in his niche – cleaning up the messes at Kenner, Bach & Leden. Clayton faces the four worst days of his career when he is called out to deal with a senior litigator, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson), who suffers a crisis of conscience and a complete break down during the final deposition stages of a multi-billion dollar class action suit. Now everyone at Kenner, Bach & Leden is depending on Michael to "fix" it.

What we thought of it:

Michael Clayton begins with the potential to become a riveting legal drama to rival the likes of A Few Good Men, The Pelican Brief and Primal Fear. But 20 minutes in, it falls flat.

Writer and first time director Tony Gilroy, the man who gave birth to the Bourne trilogy, has a knack for developing complex characters who face personal dilemmas because of their professional/career obligations. But while he was a genius at bringing Jason Bourne to life, the same cannot be said about Michael Clayton. The already complex plot tries too hard to be too clever and you get the feeling Gilroy's trying to outsmart every John Grisham novel ever written. The story gets lost in the details. Subplots branch out, but are chopped off just as they begin to grow, leaving a dull stub while the root is a slow developer.

But not all is lost. If you hold out, the Oscar-nominated film revives itself (and the audience) when the pace picks up 40 minutes later as loose ends are tied up.

Clooney is perfectly cast. He's able to bring his worn out and conflicted character to life with a restrained charm that allows audiences to relate to his disillusionment. You see him as both a villain and a victim, and he rightly deserves his Best Actor nomination. Likewise, his co-stars (who are also nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Actress) Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton skillfully transform fictional characters into real and flawed people.

Complexity aside, Michael Clayton will satisfy the thirst of the serious moviegoer looking for something more substantial than Hollywood's current string of dumbed-down slapstick blockbusters. And its ambitious plot might just see Gilroy walk home with a golden statuette.

- Megan Kakora

Read what lucky 24.com readers, who won an exclusive screening of the movie courtesy of Nu Metro, had to say.
If you're looking for weighty fiction, George Clooney's meaty legal drama is your best bet.

Louise 2008/02/23 5:31 PM
Review I no longer trust 24.com movie reviews. A Very good site is Moviesite.co.za with all the reviews, are well written and it gives quite an overview.
dustin 2008/02/27 1:13 PM
idiots I wonder under which rock Louise climbed?? a review from a critic is his/her personal opinion, so therefore everyones will be different. So you can go to any site you want, you neanderthal :-)
Skillgannon 2008/03/20 10:13 AM
To each his own A review is just that a review. What one persons view is may not be another's. Personally I think there is to much opinions that fly around when reviewing a movie of any type. I have never trusted a review of any kind, rather go and see the movie for your self then make up your own mind, if you disagree then so be it, that does not make your taste any less than the next. M.C does not do it for me, as there could have been a lot more done with this film, not that I did not enjoy watching the film.
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