With a job traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham enjoys his life living out of a suitcase, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a new hire and a potential love interest.
A reporter in Iraq might just have the story of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady, a guy who claims to be a former member of the U.S. Army's New Earth Army, a unit that employs paranormal powers in their missions.
Michael Clayton, a high-priced law firm's fixer, leaves a late night poker game, gets a call to drive to Westchester, and watches his car blow up as he's taking an impromptu dawn walk through a field. Flash back four days. He owes a loan shark to cover his brother's debts (Michael's own gambling habits have left him virtually broke). His law firm is negotiating a high-stakes merger, and his firm's six year defense of a conglomerate's pesticide use is at risk when one of the firm's top litigators goes off his meds and puts the case in jeopardy. While Michael is trying to fix things someone decides to kill him. Who? Meanwhile his son summarizes the plot of a dark fantasy novel. Written by
Committed to a fully developed back story, director Tony Gilroy spent a good deal of time establishing the details of "Realm and Conquest" with production designer Kevin Thompson. The director explains that right from the beginning, when he first read the script, he could tell that "Realm and Conquest" was going to be a key prop. In the movie it's a metaphor for truth and justice. In creating the details of the fictional novel, Thompson generated original visuals inspired by German Expressionistic images cut from wood blocks, and Gilroy wrote the first two pages for three chapters of the book. They even went as far as designing a "Realm and Conquest" card game for a scene between Henry and Michael. Thompson offers, "This detail was important to Tony because, in his own life, novels and games similar to 'Realm and Conquest' allow him to connect with his son in a meaningful way." See more »
In the early part of the film, during a drive in Manhattan, a tree can clearly be seen in vivid bloom, which occurs in Spring. However, the rest of the scenes take place in a Christmas Season time frame, evidenced by the numerous shots with lit trees, and decorations. As well, the grass is dead in most rural New York scenes, and actors' breath is clearly visible, once again suggesting late Autumn, or early winter. See more »
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 ...
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In a world over-run by corporations and lawyers, the little man rarely wins. It takes a big man to keep that world in order. But sometimes another big man comes along to show who really is the big man. Or is it a woman? That said, no big man would exist without the little man - the outsider.
While you can watch this movie and see a good story develop, the story makes an interesting shift. The people become the story once the initial story has laid to bare the reason for the peoples' existence.
I enjoyed it for that very reason. The characters were all extremely interesting thanks to great performances by everyone. Clooney, Wilkinson, Pollack and especially Tilda Swinton(White Witch from Narnia) - I am in love with her acting ability. I will be doing some back-tracking to catch up on what I have missed from her. In Narnia, she was deliciously evil and in Clayton, she couldn't be any worse at being evil, but that was her character. It was fun to watch how she made weakness such a strength.
Wilkinson is such an all around great actor and makes his character seem lovable although pitiful and downright nasty for reasons I won't bring up here. Wilkinson definitely delivers.
Clooney provided the best performance in a long time. I think Clooney has long been an interesting performer but this role is just one of his best - dedicated, sometimes mysterious, loving and charming; even funny and sad.
You may look for more in the story line but you may miss the best part if you don't accept that the people are the story once the movie gets rolling.
8 of 10
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