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Old 10-12-2007, 07:06 PM   #1
Dominic
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Michael Clayton

Michael Clayton , Tony Gilroy, 2007



Just saw this film, and I have to say it's probably the best movie I've seen this year. Writer/director Tony Gilroy is best known for penning the Bourne mives, and he brings the same intelligence, detail and complexity to Michael Clayton as he did to those films.

George Clooney plays the title character, a "fixer" for a huge NY law firm, a man who's been with the same firm for over 17 years but is not a partner. Basically, he's a bagman, or as he puts it, as "janitor" who is very, very good at cleaning up messes.

This is a legal thriller about a huge industrial company being sued for billions over a potentially lethal product. But really, the story is about Michael Clayton and his mid-life crisis of faith.

This is a very adult movie, one that takes concentration to understand what's going on, as Gilroy does not spoon feed plot points, character flwas and motivations to us; instead, Clayton's life is like our lives - complicated and one that doesn't always make sense. It's gorgeously plotted with minor details about characters that add up to much more than the whole. Clayton's gambling problem, his family life, his son, his friendships...we see it all like we experience real life - messily.

The performances are astounding; Clooney will win every major award, mark my words, and Tom Wikinson will probably get a few as well. As a huge fan of both actors, it's thrilling to see two giants go toe to toe in some fantastic scenes - especially one in an alley that crackles with intensity.

Tilda Swinton and Sydney Pollack also give outstanding performances, even while suffering from the cliche of "the banality of evil." But it's a minor quibble.

Great movie, not for everyone as it's slow going and cerebral, but definitely worth your time if you're looking for something with a little meat on its bones.

Four out of five stars.
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:14 PM   #2
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Re: Michael Clayton

but how are the cinematography and music?

the performances look fantastic and am excited to see it
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:24 PM   #3
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Re: Michael Clayton

I'm getting used to Clooney's presence in a project giving me high hopes for it. He seems to be becoming a more interesting artist year by year. I've been hoping he keeps on this route sort of like Clint Eastwood did -- finding financing to keep making his own quality movies and remaining viable in others -- but perhaps without quite so many orangutans. I'm really looking forward to this movie.
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:35 PM   #4
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Re: Michael Clayton

Quote:
This is a very adult movie, one that takes concentration to understand what's going on, as Gilroy does not spoon feed plot points, character flwas and motivations to us;
So what you are telling us is that this will fail miserably at the box office?
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:55 PM   #5
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Re: Michael Clayton

Quote:
but how are the cinematography and music?

the performances look fantastic and am excited to see it
I didn't really notice the music, I was too engrossed in the movie. I guess that's a good thing.

The cinematography was very good and didn't call attention to itself...those of you who don't like the Greengrass "shakey-cam" style will be relieved to know that Gilroy does not take after his Bourne director on this.
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:58 PM   #6
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Re: Michael Clayton

Quote:
I'm getting used to Clooney's presence in a project giving me high hopes for it. He seems to be becoming a more interesting artist year by year. I've been hoping he keeps on this route sort of like Clint Eastwood did -- finding financing to keep making his own quality movies and remaining viable in others -- but perhaps without quite so many orangutans. I'm really looking forward to this movie.
That's a great analogy...Clooney is this generations' Eastwood. I can't think of a more compelling film artist in Hollywood right now. Just look back over his choices and films...he obviously has a "body of work" commitment to his career, rather than "let's make a quick buck" - the Ocean movies notwithstanding!

I'm a huge fan.
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:21 PM   #7
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Re: Michael Clayton

I had the opportunity to listen to Tony Gilroy speak after I saw the movie.

One interesting bit was that the movie kicked around for a while and Gilroy couldnt get it made. Steven Soderbergh became involved as a producer and convinced Clooney to look at the project. Clooney initialled wouldn't take a meeting with Gilroy since Clooney only wanted to direct it and had no interest in starring in the movie.
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:36 PM   #8
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Re: Michael Clayton

O Brother and Syriana convinced me on Clooney. Swinton's range is incredible. Yeah, can't wait to see this one.
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:52 PM   #9
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Re: Michael Clayton

Wow, I'm even more excited to see it now! Do you actively write reviews on other sites Dominic?
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Old 10-13-2007, 12:39 AM   #10
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Re: Michael Clayton

Quote:
Quote:
I'm getting used to Clooney's presence in a project giving me high hopes for it. He seems to be becoming a more interesting artist year by year. I've been hoping he keeps on this route sort of like Clint Eastwood did -- finding financing to keep making his own quality movies and remaining viable in others -- but perhaps without quite so many orangutans. I'm really looking forward to this movie.
That's a great analogy...Clooney is this generations' Eastwood. I can't think of a more compelling film artist in Hollywood right now. Just look back over his choices and films...he obviously has a "body of work" commitment to his career, rather than "let's make a quick buck" - the Ocean movies notwithstanding!

I'm a huge fan.
I love Clooney, too...and I'm a huge fan, and will certainly see this movie...but I've always thought of him as more of this generation's Dean Martin, or perhaps, Sinatra. It's not just the success...it's the fact that he seems to be the perennial partyer, and no one seems to think it's weird, even though he's in his 40s. I distinctly remember all of the celebrities at the Oscars last year referring to him simply by his last name, like he's some legendary member of a football team. We never hear stories about him busting up a hotel room or having some sort of major psychological problem or breakdown. He just makes a movie(well), gets his millions, then flies off to bang some other supermodel half his age in one of his cinemaesque mansions in Hollywood or Italy or whatever. No one ever says anything bad about him either...there don't seem to be any tell-alls or slams in the media...no public feuds.

I dunno...the playboy thing just makes me think Rat Pack for some reason, and Clooney seems too nice to be Frank...so...Dean Martin.
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Old 10-13-2007, 03:11 AM   #11
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Re: Michael Clayton

Quote:
Wow, I'm even more excited to see it now! Do you actively write reviews on other sites Dominic?
nope, I waste enough of my time on this one...glad u liked it!
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Old 10-13-2007, 12:28 PM   #12
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Re: Michael Clayton

Dean never seemed to husband a resource, though. He always seemed to be dissipating and not caring that he did. It was hard to picture him ever getting any better at anything, or caring. Clooney seems much more ambitious.
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Old 10-13-2007, 03:02 PM   #13
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Re: Michael Clayton

I don't like a Rat Pack comparison. I don't know much about the rest of them, but from what I know of Sinatra he was an abominable piece of [censored] human being, and I don't think Clooney should be associated with that. More Cary Grant/Clark Gable/Bogart - the absurdly charismatic and good-looking actors of yore.
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Old 10-13-2007, 03:26 PM   #14
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Re: Michael Clayton

Cary Grant's glib but friendly manner does ring a bit of a bell, though Clooney doesn't have quite his polish -- but then again, who did?
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Old 10-13-2007, 06:27 PM   #15
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Re: Michael Clayton

this definitely increases my interest level
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:20 PM   #16
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Re: Michael Clayton

Saw it and thought it was very good. Only quibble is Clooney won't be winning any awards for his role short of the kind of jokey wons possibly...golden globe etc. He played it very well but it isn't a major stretch from the normal Clooney role. Wilkinson is fantastic.
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Old 10-14-2007, 02:25 PM   #17
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Re: Michael Clayton

*SPOILERS* in white.

Is Clayton doing anything "wrong" at the end? When he took the $80,000 loan/bonus, wasn't there an implied gag order? Is he going to stay with the firm?
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Old 10-14-2007, 02:42 PM   #18
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Re: Michael Clayton

Quote:
*SPOILERS* in white.

Is Clayton doing anything "wrong" at the end? When he took the $80,000 loan/bonus, wasn't there an implied gag order? Is he going to stay with the firm?
He hadn't signed the contract/nondisclosure form yet. Plus, I'm reasonably sure those kind NDs would be hard to enforce when the whistle blower is reporting something illegal.
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:09 PM   #19
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Re: Michael Clayton

The XXX had to do with all the fixing he had done in the past.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:34 PM   #20
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Re: Michael Clayton

Quote:
*SPOILERS* in white.

Is Clayton doing anything "wrong" at the end? When he took the $80,000 loan/bonus, wasn't there an implied gag order? Is he going to stay with the firm?
One thing I really liked about the movie was that he wasn't exactly a saint (he had a gambling problem, basically told his son that he wasn't a great role model, and performed a job that he knew sometimes assisted bad people and hurt good ones), and this made it believable, at least to me, that at the end he might have been serious about what he was proposing to the woman. This doesn't answer your questions really but they made me think of this.
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Old 10-16-2007, 01:42 AM   #21
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Re: Michael Clayton

I thought Swinton's performance was the most remarkable part of this tremendous film. Truly one of the best supporting performances of the past decade. The scenes that cut between her rehearsing speeches and then the actual speeches were so good.
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:05 AM   #22
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Re: Michael Clayton

Quote:
I thought Swinton's performance was the most remarkable part of this tremendous film. Truly one of the best supporting performances of the past decade. The scenes that cut between her rehearsing speeches and then the actual speeches were so good.
yeah, that was pretty remarkable.
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Old 10-17-2007, 03:43 AM   #23
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Re: Michael Clayton

after seeing the movie, one of the first things my girlfriend and I talked about was how perfect she was for that role.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:14 AM   #24
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Re: Michael Clayton

Not to beat a dead horse, but it is an excellent movie. I cant really think of anything I didnt like.

Only movie I've seen so far this year that is on the same level is Eastern Promises.
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Old 10-17-2007, 03:02 PM   #25
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Re: Michael Clayton

*spoiler heavy*





Saw this yesterday, and was pretty blown away. All the front line performances were really good - it's hard to pick between Pollack, Swinton, Clooney and Wilkinson. I really liked how the script made you sort of identity with Swinton as a striver who was in somewhat over her head and then flipped it on us.

The film probably resonated with me a fair amount because I practice at a civil defense firm, and while not on the same scale as whomever, Pollack, and thatguy, a lot of the details seemed pretty right on. I will say that the outside litigation team getting screwed by the in-house attorney hiding/destroying evidence is not far fetched at all - I've been tangentially involved in at least one instance of this and had/got to watch the outside counsel tapdance in front of a "deeply concerned" judge. But that digression aside Wilkenson's opening monologue verbalizes the deepest darkest thoughts of many an attorney I imagine - at least the vaguely self aware ones.

My main quibble was with the minor baddies. The big jowly guy is so obviously the Deus ex Villanus. And the "security" guys are about one step away from the Talking Killers in a Bond movie. I mean seriously, a car bomb?

But those are fairly minor quibbles, and in the end, got to give it at least 4.5/5.
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