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] Michael Clayton
: You are the senior litigating partner of one of the largest, most respected law firms in the world. You are a legend. Arthur Edens
: I'm an accomplice! Michael Clayton
: You're a manic-depressive! Arthur Edens
: I am Shiva, the god of death.
: I am not the enemy. Arthur Edens
: Then who are you?
: Michael, I have great affection for you and you live a very rich and interesting life, but you're a bag man not an attorney. If your intention was to have me committed you should have kept me in Wisconsin where the arrest report, the videotape, eyewitness reports of my inappropriate behavior would have had jurisdictional relevance. I have no criminal record in the state of New York, and the single determining criterion for involuntary commitment is danger. Is the defendant a danger to himself or to others. You think you got the horses for that? Well good luck and God bless, but I'll tell you this: the last place you want to see me is in court. Michael Clayton
: I'm not the enemy. Arthur Edens
: Then who are you?
: Yes! Here we are, all together. Is everyone listening? 'Cause this is the moment you've been waiting for, a very special piece of paper, so let's have a big, paranoid, malignant round of applause... for United Northfield Culcitate Internal Research Memorandum #229! June 19th, 1991. "Conclusion: The unanticipated marketing growth for Culcitate by small farms in colder climates demands IMMEDIATE cost-benefit analysis." Hah. Would you like a little bit of legal advice? NEVER let a scientist use the words "unanticipated" and "immediate" in the same sentence. Okay? Okay. "In-house field studies have indicated small, short-season farms dependent on well water for human consumption are at risk for toxic, particulate concentrations at levels significant enough to cause serious human tissue damage." Well, this is a long way of saying that you don't even have to leave your house to be killed by our product, we'll pipe it into your kitchen sink. "Culcitate's great market advantage that it is tasteless, colorless, and does not precipitate, has the potential to mask and intensify these potentially lethal exposures." Now, I love this. Not only is this a great product, it is a superb cancer delivery system. "Chemical modifications of Culcitate product, or the addition of a detector molecule such as an odorant or a colorant, would require a top-down redesign of the Culcitate-manufacturing process. These costs, while assumed to be significant, were not summarized here." Which, loosely translated, means "it's going to cost a fortune to go back on this, and I'm just an asshole in a lab, so could someone else PLEASE make the decision?" "CLEARLY, the release of these internal research documents would compromise the effective marketing of Culcitate, and MUST be kept within the protective confines of United Northfield's trade secret language." You don't need me... to tell you what that means. Goodbye!
] Arthur Edens
: Michael. Dear Michael. Of course it's you, who else could they send, who else could be trusted? I... I know it's a long way and you're ready to go to work... all I'm saying is wait, just wait, just-just-just... please hear me out because this is not an episode, relapse, fuck-up, it's... I'm begging you Michael. I'm begging you. Try and make believe this is not just madness because this is not just madness. Two weeks ago I came out of the building, okay, I'm running across Sixth Avenue, there's a car waiting, I got exactly 38 minutes to get to the airport and I'm dictating. There's this, this panicked associate sprinting along beside me, scribbling in a notepad, and suddenly she starts screaming, and I realize we're standing in the middle of the street, the light's changed, there's this wall of traffic, serious traffic speeding towards us, and I... I-I freeze, I can't move, and I'm suddenly consumed with the overwhelming sensation that I'm covered with some sort of film. It's in my hair, my face... it's like a glaze... like a... a coating, and... at first I thought, oh my god, I know what this is, this is some sort of amniotic - embryonic - fluid. I'm drenched in afterbirth, I've-I've breached the chrysalis, I've been reborn. But then the traffic, the stampede, the cars, the trucks, the horns, the screaming and I'm thinking no-no-no-no, reset, this is not rebirth, this is some kind of giddy illusion of renewal that happens in the final moment before death. And then I realize no-no-no, this is completely wrong because I look back at the building and I had the most stunning moment of clarity. I... I... I... I realized Michael, that I had emerged not from the doors of Kenner, Bach, and Ledeen, not through the portals of our vast and powerful law firm, but from the asshole of an organism whose sole function is to excrete the... the-the-the poison, the ammo, the defoliant necessary for other, larger, more powerful organisms to destroy the miracle of humanity. And that I had been coated in this patina of shit for the best part of my life. The stench of it and the stain of it would in all likelihood take the rest of my life to undo. And you know what I did? I took a deep cleansing breath and I set that notion aside. I tabled it. I said to myself as clear as this may be, as potent a feeling as this is, as true a thing as I believe that I have witnessed today, it must wait. It must stand the test of time. And Michael, the time is now.
: [on the phone with Anna Kaiserson
] Isn't it what we wait for? To meet someone... and they're, they're like a lens and suddenly you're looking through them and everything changes and nothing can ever be the same again.
: It's really happening. Arthur Edens
: Yeah, It is happening, isn't it? Something larger than themselves and they're not ready, are they to hear it? Henry Clayton
: Yeah. But later they will.
: I just need to make my thoughts a little bit more precise. That's, that's my goal. Michael Clayton
: As good as this feels, you know where it goes. Arthur Edens
: No. No, no, you're wrong. What makes this feel good is that I don't know where it goes.
: I look up and Marty's standing in my office with a bottle of champagne - he tells me we just hit thirty thousand billable hours on U-North and he wants to celebrate. An hour later, I'm in a whorehouse in Chelsea and two Lithuanian redheads are taking turns sucking on my cock. I'm laying there, I'm trying not to come, I'm trying to make it last, right? So I start doing the math - thirty thousand hours, what is that? Twenty-four times thirty - seven hundred twenty hours in a month, eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours per year... Michael Clayton
: Arthur... Arthur Edens
: Wait! Because it's YEARS! It's lives! And the numbers are making me dizzy, and now I'm not just trying not to come, I'm trying not to THINK! But I can't stop. Is that me? Am I just some freak organism that's been put here to eat and sleep and spend my days defending this one horrific chain of carcinogenic molecules? Is this my place? Michael Clayton
: You promised me, Arthur. Arthur Edens
: Is that it, Michael? Is that my grail? Two Lithuanian mouths on my cock? Is that the correct choice to the multiple choice of me?