Sunday, October 21, 2007

Review: Michael Clayton

A friend and I went to see Michael Clayton last week. I was supposed to go with two friends, but one was overtaken by the allure of an American League playoff game. Now while I take as much joy in watching the Red Sox and the Yankees of the world lose as much as the next red blooded non-east coast American male, it's still the American League, and that's inexcusable.

Moving on.

I anticipated a decent socially conscious suspense drama, as that's mostly what George Clooney does these days. Why wouldn't he? I don't think he needs more money. For some reason, I thought it was based on a true story, but apparently it's a complete work of fiction by Tony Gilroy. He wrote the screenplays for the Bourne Franchise (that should be the name of the next movie, by the way) as well as Armageddon and The Devil's Advocate. This was his first big screen original since The Cutting Edge, a figure skating drama (really) and also his directorial debut.

I mentioned that I anticipated a socially conscious suspense drama, and though that's what it was, the socially conscious part of it was not of the preachy variety, and likely wasn't even the purpose of the movie. It was, however, an excellent popcorn-eating flick.

Clooney convincingly plays the title character, a somewhat washed up attorney, part time father of one, and recovering poker addict (hey, I'm not an addict, so just get your mouse cursor off the Comment link). Tom Wilkinson is excellent as Michael's brilliant, yet clinically nutty attorney friend Arthur. Arthur stopped taking his meds, and some of his resulting behavior leaves a high-profile client feeling just a tad miffed. Michael's job is to clean things up and make everything better, which is apparently where he really excels. Tilda Swinton is chillingly realistic as Karen Crowder, who doesn't think much of the job Michael is doing.

The movie starts at a key point in what turns out to be near the end of the movie, chronologically. Don't worry, it all eventually makes perfect sense. Sit back and enjoy it. My imdb rating: 8/10.

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