Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Michael Clayton (2007)

Michael Clayton is an outstanding edge of your seat thriller. George Clooney plays Michael Clayton, a lawyer for the firm Kenner, Bach & Ledeen. Michael's job is that he cleans up all the messes for the firm. The film starts out with Michael going to meet a high society client who has just hit a man with his car and left the scene. After leaving the man's house, Michael stops along the road to look at some horses. While doing this, his Mercedes explodes from a bomb stashed somewhere in the vehicle. Flash back to four days earlier. Michael is in big debt, owing $75,000 to cover his degenerate brother's debt. Unfortunately Michael himself is broke due to a gambling problem. His firm is nearing a settlement over a six billion dollar class action suit where they are defending an agrochemical company whose product allegedly killed 486 people. The lawyer leading the case for Kenner, Bach and Ledeen is Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson). Arthur is a manic-depressive, who has just decided to stop taking his medication. This causes him to make a scene where he strips down naked during the deposition of the plaintiff. This also leads Arthur to come to the conclusion that the case he's working on and the company he's defending are pure evil. Michael, of course, is sent in to clean up the mess. The more Michael hears from Arthur the more it starts to make sense, and the more desperate Karen Crowder (one of the heads of the agrochemical company) becomes. She hires men to watch Arthur like a hawk, and comes to discover that he is building a case against her company. Of course, knowing that he has a lot of information that could harm her and the company, she panics. This is a great directorial debut from Tony Gilroy, and he is helped out immensely by fantastic performances by Tom Wilkinson, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Sydney Pollack. I'm not sure Michael Clayton deserved seven Oscar nominations, but it is definitely worth seeing. Overall 3.5/4 Stars Grade = B+

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