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Thoughts on "Michael Clayton" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, October 22, 2007

Worth A Matinee or Full-Price Ticket: Matinee. Unless you consider any movie starring George Clooney to be worth the money, then a matinee price will leave you feeling much more satisfied with this well-crafted movie.

Will I Own It On DVD: Only if I can find it for under $10 at some point after the initial DVD release, which seems very possible.

1) I generally loathe movie titles which also serve as character names. I don't know why, but it just seems lazy to me and although there have been some good ones ("Michael Collins"), some excellent ones ("Erin Brockavich") and some mediocre ones ("Wyatt Earp" and "Dolores Claiborne"), I still don't care for those kinds of titles. That being said, "Michael Clayton" falls into the upper echelon in this naming genre.

2) This film is a well-made, tightly-constructed project that forces you to pay attention from the start. It treats the audience with respect (at least until the end), and is a slow burn movie that serves up solid tension after a law firm's fixer, George Clooney, finds himself embroiled in a clean-up job that keeps getting worse.

3) It's nice to see Clooney play a character with flaws who doesn't have all the answers and who isn't one step ahead of everyone else. His character, Michael Clayton, is flawed and unsure, qualities which allow Clooney to perform some acting outside of star-driven roles in the Ocean's 11, 12 and 13 movies. This is his best work since "Syriana" as he is constantly watchable yet weary-looking in this film.

4) Tilda Swinton ("The Chronicles of Narnia") plays a powerful corporate client of Clooney's firm, and gives an interesting turn as his nemesis. Swinton crafts a woman who has risen to the top of the business world, however, when things go south, she showcases the personal conflicts and comprimises which are hidden beneath the tough exterior.

5) The main problem I had with "Michael Clayton" was the ending, which tries to tie up too many plot devices and seemed too easy to me after the action which preceded it. It wasn't a competely illogical leap, but it also didn't finish as strongly as I would have hoped.

Overall, "Michael Clayton" was a very good film, and one that I was originally hesitant to see as lawyer plotlines don't excite me very often. This is less a legal thriller, howerver, and more about a man who finds himself boxed in during a personal and professional crisis, a situation that plays out well with Clooney carrying a movie which is well worth watching.



  1. JLee Says:
  2. I'm sorry you were somewhat disappointed because this was next on my watch list. I like Clooney and Swinton a lot, so I probably will still see it, but opt for the matinee. (which I normally do anyway because I'm a cheap ass)

  3. Heff Says:
  4. Nothing about this movie seems to draw my appeal, except for Clooney himself. I've recently decided to buy NOTHING ELSE on dvd except live music footage. Anthing else just collects dust and is virtually never watched again. Why ? Because I own it at that point, I guess.

  5. Jlee - I was only disappointed because I built it up too highly after reading too many reviews, which was entirely my fault. Ha. But yes, most movies are only worth a matinee in my mind.

    Heff - That was my thought as well about the movie, but it's a solid rental at the very least. I know what you mean about DVDs as well because you have to watch a film at least 2 - 3 times to make the money worth it vs. renting it again.

  6. I was waiting for your review and I think I will see it Matinee-style. I could use a movie that uses my brain and he IS easy on the eyes.

  7. nobich Says:
  8. If I don't like a title of a movie I'll never watch it. ever. I have never seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind just cause of the title & I have no desire to see it. Also The English Patient. and a few others. It's a block. Just so ya know. Ha

  9. Anonymous Boxer - I was anxious to see it, and a matinee should leave you very satisfied for a number of reasons. Ha.

    Nobich - Yeah, I know what you mean about titles, although I don't quite carry it that far. It irritates me when I like a song or movie, but loathe the title. It's a problem.

  10. Miss Ash Says:
  11. I don't even know what it's about. I do know that I saw We Own the Night and was very disappointed.

  12. vivavavoom Says:
  13. who came up with that catchphrase:
    "Don't be at the service of the others" for the poster. eeeek...they cannot be paying people for coming up with that shite.

    oh well...still not a movie I will see. I need a good week has been too hard for anymore drama!!

  14. Miss Ash - Thanks for yr. review as I was curious about We Own the Night. The only thing I knew for sure about it was that Eva Mendes looked great in the previews. Michael Clayton was a good movie. You should look into it a bit.

    Vivavavoom - That's not good on yr. home drama front, and since this is the fall season, there probably aren't too many comedies coming down the pipe. But I could be very wrong (and you are right about the catchphrase - that's fairly awful).

  15. Linda Says:
  16. Since I love Clooney and a drama that admits the audience has a brain, this one worked for me. I also liked that the characters weren't perfect cookie cutter stereotypes. Good stuff!

  17. Thanks for the review. I probably won't watch this, but I have a feeling my life won't be the poorer for it.

  18. Linda - I agree. And yes, the audience with a brain part was refreshing. I liked the film quite a bit, but was simply disappointed in the ending as that was a very old trick to get the confession.

    Getoffmylawn - No problem, and very few films are so good that your life will be worse for not having seen them. Unfortunately.


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