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Michael Clayton (2007)

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A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit.

Director:

Tony Gilroy

Writer:

Tony Gilroy
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2,993 ( 483)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 26 wins & 110 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Wilkinson ... Arthur Edens
Michael O'Keefe ... Barry Grissom
Sydney Pollack ... Marty Bach
Danielle Skraastad ... Bridget Klein (voice)
Tilda Swinton ... Karen Crowder
George Clooney ... Michael Clayton
Wai Chan Wai Chan ... Chinese Dealer
Alberto Vazquez ... Player #1
Brian Koppelman ... Player #2
Tom McCarthy ... Walter (voice)
Denis O'Hare ... Mr. Greer
Julie White ... Mrs. Greer
Austin Williams ... Henry Clayton
Jennifer Van Dyck ... Ivy
Frank Wood ... Gerald
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

law | fixer | law firm | debt | attorney | See All (265) »

Taglines:

The truth is what he makes it. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including some sexual dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

CMC [Taiwan] | Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 October 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Майкл Клейтон See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$719,910, 7 October 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$49,033,882

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$92,991,835
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During a scene where Edens (Tom Wilkinson) is wandering through Times Square, a U-North advertisement appears on a massive video screen. Beneath the screen on the side of a bus is another advertisement for a musical called Wicked. While Wicked is about the witches of Oz, its appearance in the same shot as the name of the company Edens was defending is appropriately coincidental given the plot of the movie. See more »

Goofs

When Michael and Marty are having the conversation in Marty's home, the glass doors on the bookcase behind Marty change positions numerous times during the scene; probably to avoid reflecting the camera and crew in the glass with each new camera position. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
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 ...
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Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #7.4 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Midnight Cocktail
Written by Stéphane Guillaume
Provided by APM Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"I am Shiva, the God of Death"
16 October 2007 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

So are spoken as some of the most desperate words- not crazy, there's a difference- in recent movie memory. Michael Clayton is about the character trying to deal with his hand of fate, which is pretty dire: he's 45, working for 17 years for a law-firm where he's a "fixer", cleaning up the problems that can't be solved through simple litigations. Now he has a problem with the chief attorney, the "legend" Arthur (Tom Wilkinson) who has just gone streaking after one of the witnesses in a parking lot. The whole case could fall apart, but is there more than meets the eye? Murder, wire-taps, cover-ups, bombs, and at the core the placidity of a straight-laced face (Tilda Swinton), are all apart of the not-too-complicated puzzle.

It goes without saying that there is a little more than some debt that Gilroy owes to Network, if only in the face-value to be taken from the characters: the weathered professional, the nut who really has ecstatic truth in the Herzog sense, the cold and exacting woman, and the guy working as a top dog behind the scenes. But where Network was as dark as satires get, if there's any laughter to come out of Michael Clayton it's only in the extremely uncomfortable moments of Wilkinson walking in a daze through Times Square or disrobing maniacally on video, or a couple of chuckles at the wrap-up climax. It's a paranoid thriller where, in reality, it's not exactly paranoia in the strictest sense: if it's really happening, then it shouldn't be something to watch out for. But Gilroy continues to build on a sensibility of paranoia, of the darkness creeping up behind the corporate facade, of the sinister presence of those men in cars and vans with total access to whatever and whenever with the target. And you thought the Bourne movies- co-written by Gilory- were tense genre pieces.

What makes a film like Michael Clayton end up as memorable as it is, almost essential for those wanting to go to the movies for a serious drama without pretense or extreme melodrama, is the script and the performances. It's indeed such a strong script that it surely covers over the direction- as a directorial debut it feels like the work of a professional with countless years behind the belt, with a few notes of experimentation (the opening rambling voice-over on the looming, still shots of the empty rooms at the office at night, and the final shot as something that breaks away from what could be a bit more predictable and instead kind of haunting). And it's something as literate as this that allows for actors to go for what they can do best: for Wilkinson, Oscar worthy to a T, it's both subtle and over-the-top with Arthur, at one point making a masterful stroke of carrying loaves of bread; Swinton makes the careful act of preparation and looking at a mirror like it's everything to the character; Pollack, solid as usual, not too much to say.

Then there's Clooney. Already one of those leading men in Hollywood that has enough clout to probably get Sim City made into a movie if he wanted to, when given a serious and complex enough part to dive into (which has been frequent lately save for the Ocean movies) he's near perfect. I love seeing him on the brink of exploding at Arthur when he first sees him going on and on in the prison cell, or when he levels with his kid about his druggie-bum brother, or just in the way he looks frightened and unsure at some horses in a field. And the aforementioned shot couldn't be done so well by anyone else- you don't want to leave the theater even as the credits roll by, because he might do something, something slight behind the usual super-handsome exterior as he leaves the audience wanting to see more. It's an excellent genre film, but it's probably one of the few near perfect performances of the actor's career (and yes, I include Return of the Killer Tomatoes in that group).


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