Details: (MA15+), 119 mins, United States, English
Synopsis: Michael Clayton (George Clooney), a former prosecutor from a family of cops, takes care of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen's dirtiest work; he cleans up clients' messes. But a divorce, his gambling and a failed business venture have left him with a large debt. At the agrichemical company U/North, the career of in-house counsel Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton) rests on the multi-million dollar settlement of a class action suit over potential harm to humans, that Clayton's firm is leading to a seemingly successful conclusion. When Kenner, Bach & Ledeen's top litigator, the brilliant Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson), has an apparent breakdown and tries to sabotage the U/North case, Clayton is sent to tackle this unprecedented disaster and in doing so comes face to face with the reality of what he has become.
A stunning directing debut from acclaimed screenwriter Tony Gilroy.
Tony Gilroy best known in Hollywood for penning all three Bourne scripts, this time directs as well as writes in Michael Clayton, and it appears he has saved his best material for himself!
On a black screen with the name Michael Clayton slowly emerging, the haunting deluded voice of Tom Wilkinson begins, ranting about truth and deceit, cover ups and exposure. It is a powerful introduction and serves to set the scene for what lies ahead – a thrilling 2 hours in the cinema!
Gilroy has written a tight, intriguing script about an in-house "fixer" at a powerful corporate law firm in New York. George Clooney relishes the role of Michael Clayton, the guy employed to clean up the mess of important clients. Anything from hit and runs to shoplifting wives.
When the firm's senior litigator Arthur, played by a scene stealing Tom Wilkinson, has an apparent breakdown, he threatens to turn against one of the firm's most powerful clients – so Michael Clayton is called upon.
For a directorial debut this is an astounding effort by Gilroy. He avoids the handheld camera work synonymous with his previous films and proves that tight plot structure, clever dialogue and great use of close ups, is enough to create the required paranoia and suspense.
This is a moral tale that is particularly timely in these days of overt political spin doctoring. Gilroy likes to look at the underbelly of what goes on around us and presents it in an emotional and thrilling package.
George Clooney has once again proven his ability to choose interesting scripts that resonate strongly.
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