Michael Clayton (15)

Film

Thrillers

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Mon Sep 24 2007

There are shades of ‘Erin Brockovich’ in screenwriter Tony Gilroy’s directorial debut: a gorgeous, lovable A-lister (here George Clooney) gets caught up in skulduggery surrounding a massive class action lawsuit brought against a heartless megacorporation. Nor is Gilroy’s technique a million miles from Soderbergh’s, what with its tricksy chronology, fragmented, impressionistic montage and canny use of, er, George Clooney.
Clayton is a stalwart at a prestigious New York legal firm, a go-to man for awkward situations requiring a delicate touch; his private life, meanwhile, is a jumble of divorce, debt and family strife. He’s charged with damage limitation when his close colleague, company legend Arthur (Tom Wilkinson), cracks up six years into his defence of multinational company UNorth’s dodgy weedkiller record. With his boss (Sydney Pollack) distracted by a potential buy-out of the firm and UNorth’s highly strung general counsel (Tilda Swinton) on a hair-trigger, the personal welfare of Arthur and Michael is not a top priority.

This story is not without its formulaic, even clichéd, elements – the fixer who can finesse away everyone’s problems but his own, the corporate lackey redeemed by taking a stand – but its structure is unpredictable and stimulating. Through a cool, muted palette and excellent cast, Gilroy establishes a strong sense of the corporate milieu and its discontents, paying attention to the frail, messy human bodies beneath the power suits. The film also offers a handful of striking coups, including a terrifyingly efficient murder, a bristling climactic confrontation and a final, sombre shot of Clooney in a cab that makes him seem less like Cary Grant in ‘North by Northwest’ than Bob Hoskins in ‘The Long Good Friday’.

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Sep 28, 2007

Duration:

119 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

George Clooney, Sydney Pollack, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson

Editor:

John Gilroy

Production Designer:

Kevin Thompson

Cinematography:

Robert Elswit

Producer:

Kerry Orent, Steven Samuels, Jennifer Fox, Sydney Pollack

Screenwriter:

Tony Gilroy

Director:

Tony Gilroy

Music:

James Newton Howard

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|32
1 person listening
mythster S,

To "AAlia" et. al "don't criticize what you don't understand... 'Cause the time they are a changing"

mythster S,

To "AAlia" et. al "don't criticize what you don't understand... 'Cause the time they are a changing"

s fanshaw

my husband and i found the story to be slow. The actors themselves were not at all loveable. i myself found out i can sleep with my eyes open. i do believe in the art of a good film, but this really isnt one of them.

s fanshaw

my husband and i found the story to be slow. The actors themselves were not at all loveable. i myself found out i can sleep with my eyes open. i do believe in the art of a good film, but this really isnt one of them.

iain

a very dark, and at times, confusing film that i only started to get into in the second half of the film. despite clooney putting in a good performance, i found this quite disappointing and would struggle to recommend it.

iain

a very dark, and at times, confusing film that i only started to get into in the second half of the film. despite clooney putting in a good performance, i found this quite disappointing and would struggle to recommend it.

Peter Masters

1. Michael Clayton is a sort of domestic Syriana with a law firm substituting for the multiple oil interests. Cupiditas, wearing a business suit and a string of pearls (Tilda Swinton in nervous bludgeon as the villain) plays the female counsel for a worldwide corporation hiding its guilt for poisoning people through its environmental products. To save itself, Ms. Swinton perspires uneasily, but nevertheless orders the murders of two people to stop exposure of the corporation’s guilt and insure a deal to save billions in payment to the victims. Elegantly shot (the camera glides smoothly through the law firm in the early morning hours discovering empty offices, ringing phones picking up messages, fax lines printing pages while the immigrant labor empties the trash cans and cleans the offices) the film unravels in the classic chic style of 1970 films. George Clooney as a fixer (but never a partner) for the law firm must try to salvage the damage Tom Wilkerson, chief litigator, has done to the case because he went off his meds and had an attack of integrity exposing the law firm and the corporation to discovery of its duplicity. George Clooney, as the fixer, Tom Wilkerson as the no more meds attorney and Tilda Swinton perform at the top of their game, which in this instance is somewhat higher than Kong had to climb to reach the top of you know what.

Peter Masters

1. Michael Clayton is a sort of domestic Syriana with a law firm substituting for the multiple oil interests. Cupiditas, wearing a business suit and a string of pearls (Tilda Swinton in nervous bludgeon as the villain) plays the female counsel for a worldwide corporation hiding its guilt for poisoning people through its environmental products. To save itself, Ms. Swinton perspires uneasily, but nevertheless orders the murders of two people to stop exposure of the corporation’s guilt and insure a deal to save billions in payment to the victims. Elegantly shot (the camera glides smoothly through the law firm in the early morning hours discovering empty offices, ringing phones picking up messages, fax lines printing pages while the immigrant labor empties the trash cans and cleans the offices) the film unravels in the classic chic style of 1970 films. George Clooney as a fixer (but never a partner) for the law firm must try to salvage the damage Tom Wilkerson, chief litigator, has done to the case because he went off his meds and had an attack of integrity exposing the law firm and the corporation to discovery of its duplicity. George Clooney, as the fixer, Tom Wilkerson as the no more meds attorney and Tilda Swinton perform at the top of their game, which in this instance is somewhat higher than Kong had to climb to reach the top of you know what.

Paul Street

The more I think about this film the more impressed I am by it. It did take me 20 minutes to understand what was happening, but after that it just gripped more and more. Beautiful direction and photography, and superb acting by just about everyone concerned. Films made not only for grown ups, but grown ups with some intelligence are so rare these days, you almost want to grovel with gratitude! Sad that the cinema was almost empty, but then I guess most movie goers these days don't fit either category above. Thank goodness that Hollywood still has actors of clout like Cloony who can get films like this made.

Paul Street

The more I think about this film the more impressed I am by it. It did take me 20 minutes to understand what was happening, but after that it just gripped more and more. Beautiful direction and photography, and superb acting by just about everyone concerned. Films made not only for grown ups, but grown ups with some intelligence are so rare these days, you almost want to grovel with gratitude! Sad that the cinema was almost empty, but then I guess most movie goers these days don't fit either category above. Thank goodness that Hollywood still has actors of clout like Cloony who can get films like this made.

Peter Masters

Michael Clayton is a sort of domestic Syriana with a law firm substituting for multiple oil interested parties in Syriana. Cupiditas , wearing a business suit and pearls, is the female counsel for a big corporation hiding its guilt in poisoning many people with its client's product. To save itself, Tilda Swinton, as the chief attorney for the client corporation perspires uneasily, but nevertheless orders the murders of two people to insure a deal to save $$ for the company. Elegantly shot and shrewdly written, the actors have a field day in this absorbing, cautionary tale of greed.

Peter Masters

Michael Clayton is a sort of domestic Syriana with a law firm substituting for multiple oil interested parties in Syriana. Cupiditas , wearing a business suit and pearls, is the female counsel for a big corporation hiding its guilt in poisoning many people with its client's product. To save itself, Tilda Swinton, as the chief attorney for the client corporation perspires uneasily, but nevertheless orders the murders of two people to insure a deal to save $$ for the company. Elegantly shot and shrewdly written, the actors have a field day in this absorbing, cautionary tale of greed.

alan routs

Why does G.C. get involved with obscure movies such as Syriana and now this piece of pretentious nonsense?

alan routs

Why does G.C. get involved with obscure movies such as Syriana and now this piece of pretentious nonsense?

a

George Clooney's new movie, "Michael Clayton", is not your typical Hollywood morality play of good vs. evil. Indeed, one can perhaps argue that even by the end, there are no completely good people in it; it is a world inhabited by people who have various levels of morals and blood on their hands. Michael Clayton, the movie's namesake, is a lawyer in a large law firm in midtown Manhattan who is known as a "fixer", that is, the firm lawyer that is called upon to assist clients of the firm who need help for difficult situations - DWIs, hit and runs, immigration, etc. Or as Clayton likes to say, "a janitor" - since he is the one who is always cleaning up the unsightly messes that clients get themselves into, ie: "adjusting the truth". As the movie progresses, we find out that one of the firm's top litigators and partner, Arthur, was arrested in Milwaukee after stripping naked during a deposition while defending against a class-action suit for one of the firm's largest clients, a multinational agricultural corporation. Thinking that this will be a standard mop-up situation of a partner who stopped taking his medication, Clayton heads for Milwaukee. But, as time goes on, Clayton (who we learn at this time is a Fordham Law graduate) begins to see that Arthur, while perhaps having lost some sense of psychological stability, has also regained a long-lost sense of morality. Inevitably, as Clayton tries his best to "fix" the partner's altered moral compass, he too is forced to come face to face with the role he plays in the process of enabling the evil that Arthur has come to reject. One can say that perhaps the Jesuit influence on his education nearly 2 decades prior is now coming to the fore. As Arthur states while in his prison cell, where we end up in life is a result of the moral (or immoral as it may be) decisions we make, both large and small. Part of the beauty of this movie is that we see that there are no simple answers, only a lot of gray, even at the very end.

a

George Clooney's new movie, "Michael Clayton", is not your typical Hollywood morality play of good vs. evil. Indeed, one can perhaps argue that even by the end, there are no completely good people in it; it is a world inhabited by people who have various levels of morals and blood on their hands. Michael Clayton, the movie's namesake, is a lawyer in a large law firm in midtown Manhattan who is known as a "fixer", that is, the firm lawyer that is called upon to assist clients of the firm who need help for difficult situations - DWIs, hit and runs, immigration, etc. Or as Clayton likes to say, "a janitor" - since he is the one who is always cleaning up the unsightly messes that clients get themselves into, ie: "adjusting the truth". As the movie progresses, we find out that one of the firm's top litigators and partner, Arthur, was arrested in Milwaukee after stripping naked during a deposition while defending against a class-action suit for one of the firm's largest clients, a multinational agricultural corporation. Thinking that this will be a standard mop-up situation of a partner who stopped taking his medication, Clayton heads for Milwaukee. But, as time goes on, Clayton (who we learn at this time is a Fordham Law graduate) begins to see that Arthur, while perhaps having lost some sense of psychological stability, has also regained a long-lost sense of morality. Inevitably, as Clayton tries his best to "fix" the partner's altered moral compass, he too is forced to come face to face with the role he plays in the process of enabling the evil that Arthur has come to reject. One can say that perhaps the Jesuit influence on his education nearly 2 decades prior is now coming to the fore. As Arthur states while in his prison cell, where we end up in life is a result of the moral (or immoral as it may be) decisions we make, both large and small. Part of the beauty of this movie is that we see that there are no simple answers, only a lot of gray, even at the very end.

moviebuff

Recommended. Slick, well constructed film with powerful acting. The attraction is in the dialogue, so won't appeal to those with limited attention span expecting a lorra lorra CRASH, BANG & WALLOP.

moviebuff

Recommended. Slick, well constructed film with powerful acting. The attraction is in the dialogue, so won't appeal to those with limited attention span expecting a lorra lorra CRASH, BANG & WALLOP.

Aalia

A half hearted plot which was nonsensical and farfetched most of the way through. Paying seven pounds to watch paint dry would have been more appealing, or just George Clooney naked instead of his ageing co-star. Appalling film, and you find yourself counting down the seconds til something decent happens or you can leave. If my seat hadn't been at the end of the row I'd have been out like a shot! I beg you, give £7 to charity and DON'T SEE THIS FILM! 1* for having Tilda in, who made it slightly bearable although I dare you to know what UNorth did without having read the synopsis!

Aalia

A half hearted plot which was nonsensical and farfetched most of the way through. Paying seven pounds to watch paint dry would have been more appealing, or just George Clooney naked instead of his ageing co-star. Appalling film, and you find yourself counting down the seconds til something decent happens or you can leave. If my seat hadn't been at the end of the row I'd have been out like a shot! I beg you, give £7 to charity and DON'T SEE THIS FILM! 1* for having Tilda in, who made it slightly bearable although I dare you to know what UNorth did without having read the synopsis!

Ailsa

A truly excellent, memorable film. Clooney plays the part with real intelligence, while the support of Swinton, Wilkinson and other players gives this movie real gravitas. A film to make you think about life - and about what sort of life you have yourself. Definite Oscar nomination material.

Ailsa

A truly excellent, memorable film. Clooney plays the part with real intelligence, while the support of Swinton, Wilkinson and other players gives this movie real gravitas. A film to make you think about life - and about what sort of life you have yourself. Definite Oscar nomination material.

matt

if you're a 15 year old girl like lois and would rather spend your time texting then trying to understand somthing with over 10 minutes of dialogue in it - then this film is not for you. However if you are not of sub normal intellect and can appreciate a film which doesn't scream exposition at you constantly in between bouts of crap wanna-be dance music and giant robots with swords- then you will get somthing out of it. its a fine psycho-thiller. enjoyable. go see it. not as good as that french thriller "Tell No One" better then that crappy cruzer "the firm"

matt

if you're a 15 year old girl like lois and would rather spend your time texting then trying to understand somthing with over 10 minutes of dialogue in it - then this film is not for you. However if you are not of sub normal intellect and can appreciate a film which doesn't scream exposition at you constantly in between bouts of crap wanna-be dance music and giant robots with swords- then you will get somthing out of it. its a fine psycho-thiller. enjoyable. go see it. not as good as that french thriller "Tell No One" better then that crappy cruzer "the firm"

Pete

Michael Clayton is one of those guys law firms have around to sort out problems on the edge of legality - he's a fixer who's been denied true financial recognition during the 17 years he's wrangled away in the background wringing the dirt away from the wrongdoings of wealthy clients. Only this time it's one of their own that's gone off the rails - the legal equivalent of a rampaging bull - top corporate lawyer Arthur has had a Paulian conversion and turned against the business fat cats that have pumped out his fees defending a massive class action by dirt poor farmers. The film starts with a voice over dirge of madness that makes you want to leave the theatre - don't; the film unfolds with very few clues as to where its heading - and will take you on an enfolding discovery of how callous business is and how expendable life becomes when corporate sustainability starts to unravel.

Pete

Michael Clayton is one of those guys law firms have around to sort out problems on the edge of legality - he's a fixer who's been denied true financial recognition during the 17 years he's wrangled away in the background wringing the dirt away from the wrongdoings of wealthy clients. Only this time it's one of their own that's gone off the rails - the legal equivalent of a rampaging bull - top corporate lawyer Arthur has had a Paulian conversion and turned against the business fat cats that have pumped out his fees defending a massive class action by dirt poor farmers. The film starts with a voice over dirge of madness that makes you want to leave the theatre - don't; the film unfolds with very few clues as to where its heading - and will take you on an enfolding discovery of how callous business is and how expendable life becomes when corporate sustainability starts to unravel.

claire white

this film is far too long and boring people also left halfway through. i always enjoy films with george clooney in but this was disgracefully bad. the story line picked up towards the end but it did not compensate for the previous hour of utter rubbish

claire white

this film is far too long and boring people also left halfway through. i always enjoy films with george clooney in but this was disgracefully bad. the story line picked up towards the end but it did not compensate for the previous hour of utter rubbish

andy p

I thought this was rather good - don't think I was watching the same film as sarah ward below - I think she was watching 2 days in paris instead - this is a million times better than that piece of poo. Clooney is actually really convincing, to the extent that you almost forget it's george clooney.

andy p

I thought this was rather good - don't think I was watching the same film as sarah ward below - I think she was watching 2 days in paris instead - this is a million times better than that piece of poo. Clooney is actually really convincing, to the extent that you almost forget it's george clooney.

M Parker

This film is heavy handed and slow moving. The direction is v weak at times and the story line - cliched. You will be disappointed because it promises more than it delivers.

M Parker

This film is heavy handed and slow moving. The direction is v weak at times and the story line - cliched. You will be disappointed because it promises more than it delivers.