Movie Review: Michael Clayton (2007)

Starring: George a looney, Tilda Swindon and Tom Wilkinson

Directed by: Tony Gilroy

A hugely respected law firm brings in its fixer to intervene in a case that has the potential to tear the company apart. A lawyer has a breakdown while defending a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a class action suit and it’s Michael Clayton’s job to try and squash the situation early before it spirals out of control.

George Clooney stars as title character Michael Clayton and surprisingly produces a very good performance. For me Clooney is very hit and miss with emphasis being on the latter. He has featured in a few wonderful movies that I highly rate such as Ocean’s Eleven, Three Kings and The Ides of March but more often than not I psych myself up to watch one of his movies only to be bitterly disappointed. Movies such as Burn After Reading, The American, The Monuments Men and Syriana to name but a few have left me extremely frustrated in their mediocre execution and I have since become a huge sceptic when it comes to Clooney’s talent.

Michael Clayton was extremely well written and directed and although the story was a little slow to fully get going, I felt this was beneficial to set the tone of the movie rather than a hinderance. Tom Wilkinson was superb in his supporting role as Arthur Edens, who was the lawyer who started to lose his mind during a breakdown as he was going to expose U-North for the liars that they are and make sure they lose in the multi-billion dollar lawsuit against them. This was by far and away the best performance I’ve seen him produce and he was rightly nominated for the Academy Award for best supporting actor for it too. He was desperately unlucky to miss out on the win but to come up against Javier Bardem as Anton Chirgurh in No Country For Old Men, he was always facing an uphill battle to go home with the award.

Besides the performances from Clooney and Wilkinson, which both deserve all the recognition they get for this movie, I felt the rest of the cast was very bland and lacking charisma which was a bit of a shame. Michael Clayton received a lot of Oscar nominations and out of the ones which I thought they had the best chance of winning they only scooped one award. To my surprise it came in the form of best supporting actress for Tilda Swinton, who is usually very good in the majority of what she does but in Michael Clayton her role was pivotal but lacking in execution and her character wasn’t really involved much at all.

In conclusion, Michael Clayton was a good movie which was well written and featured some strong performances although with the amount of plaudits this movie has received I was expecting something great. Still worth checking out though.


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