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
When Michael Clayton asks Marty for a loan, a crew member can be seen in the reflection of a wooden door over Michael's left shoulder. The crew member moves back and forth during the scene, making it clear it's not one of the actors, who are standing completely still. 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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A satisfying flick, but you have to pay attention.
Saw this at a screening at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival.
This movie is appropriately titled "Michael Clayton" because in it we are introduced to the man in his many life roles; father, ex-husband, brother, son, friend and businessman. Some things he's good at, others not so much.
Terry Gilroy's debut directing showed a controlled and restrained hand, allowing the multi-tracked storyline to expand and grow, but always with a pull back to the core. For a fairly busy plot with numerous sub-characters, he did a good job of turning over pieces of the puzzle to bring the audience back full circle to the opening scene.
Michael Clayton fixes things, but we see in his own personal life there are a trail of problems he's dealing with. It's when he works alone that he seems to do his best work. Once those close to him come into his decision-making process, he lets emotions rule rather than his head.
George Clooney always seems to have a message in his movies, wanting us to be aware of the evil-doers out in the world. His boyish charm and general likability makes you root for him. We can relate to him.
Michael Clayton is a flawed individual who has good intentions but often gets beaten by the world and the people around him. Can't we all relate to that too? This was a satisfying suspense flick. Key to enjoying it is to pay attention.
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