Michael Clayton (2007): Gilroy’s Legal Thriller, Starring George Clooney in Top Form

Modeled after the character-driven conspiracy melodramas of the 1970s, Michael Clayton represents Tony Gilroy’s decent directorial debut, but it is really an effective star vehicle for George Clooney, who gives an excellent performance.
Socially-conscious and dark in mood, Michael Clayton is an intelligent legal thriller for our times, a message picture in both the positive and negative senses of this term.

Both actor Clooney (who’s also a producer) and director-writer Gilroy have expressed admiration for films of the 1970s, arguably the last Golden Age of American cinema, with such highlights as Alan Pakula’s trilogy of “Klute,” “The Parallax View,” and “All the President’s Men,” and Sidney Lumet’s urban policiers, such as “Serpico” and “Dog Day Afternoon” and satires like “Network.”

What the filmmakers, in front and behind the cameras, didn’t realize is that all of the aforementioned movies, with their strong ethical and professional dilemmas and moral and emotional ambiguities, were zeitgeist works that reflected the cynicism and lack of trust in any institutional authority big business after a decade of numerous political assassinations, Vietnam War and Watergate scandal.

That’s not necessarily bad, except that older audiences will find “Michael Clayton”‘s conspiracies, dilemmas, arguments, and resolutions familiar and predictable. That said, new film shows a promising directing career for Gilroy, who up until now has been known as the scribe (or co-scribe) of the mega-successful “Jason Bourne” franchise.

More importantly, it flaunts George Clooney in one of his strongest, most fully-realized performances that deserves serious Oscar consideration at year’s end. Aging gracefully, Clooney, 45, is beginning to lose his surface glitz as a movie star and move in the direction of a star-character actor, which is perfect for this picture.

After playing all the major fall film festivals, such as Venice, Deauville, and Toronto, “Michael Clayton” bows theatrically October 5. It’s anyone’s guess how the “Honest Individual versus Big Corporate Law and Business,” a truly David and Goliath tale, will play with the public, but it’s a safe bet that the film’s low-key tone, lack of melodramatic, and modest scale will not translate into big box-office numbers.

The ensemble’s stellar cast is headed, in addition to George Clooney, by vet American director-actor Sydney Pollack, and two skillful brits, Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson.

For at least half of the picture, the story is absorbing and intriguing until it begins to lose dramatic energy. Though a vehicle for Clooney, without whose participation it could not have been made, the modestly budgeted “Michael Clayton” did not offer the star his usual paycheck. But it did offer a meaty, challenging role, more in the vein of “Syriana” than the frivolous “Ocean’s Eleven” pictures, the last of which, “Ocean’s Thirteen” was an artistic and commercial disappointment.

The story unfolds as one long flashback, which begins and ends with Clayton’s car exploding in flames in the fields. Clooney plays the title role, an in-house fixer at one of New York’s largest corporate law firms. At the behest of the firms co-founder Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack), Clayton, a former prosecutor from a family of cops, takes care of Kenner, Bach & Ledeens dirty work. He cleans up clients messes, handling anything from hit-and-runs and damaging stories in the press to shoplifting wives and crooked politicians. Nonetheless, though beginning to show signs of wear-out and discontent with his job, Clayton is still very much tied to the firm. (The picture could have been called “The Firm”).

At the agrochemical company U/North, the career of chief counsel Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton) rests on the settlement of the suit that Kenner, Bach & Ledeen is leading to a seemingly successful conclusion. When the firms top litigator, the brilliant Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson), has a breakdown and tries to sabotage the case, Marty Bach sends Clayton to handle what he sees as a disaster. In doing so, Clayton id forced to face head-on the reality of who is and what he is doing.

“Michael Clayton” is the kind of uneven picture in which the parts are more interesting than the whole, and in which individual characters are more engaging and complex than the morality yarn in which they are placed.

Take Michael Clayton, one of the richest, most dynamic roles Clooney has tackled, with which he must have felt strong emotional affinity, judging by his politics on screen (as actor of “Syriana” and director of “Good Night and Good Luck”) and off (campaigning for his father-politician and rooting for various liberal and democratic causes).

Clayton is not the type of hero who does the right thing. More importantly, the qualities that have served him well in the past–his abundant charisma, ease with clients, natural commanding authorityprove to be less useful as the story progresses. Thus, it’s easy to see what attracted the handsomer Clooney (who some critics compare to Cary Grant) to the part. He possesses spark, intelligence, and charm that make people believe hell make all their problems go awayor at least make the right decisions.

Clayton hails from a proud, working-class neighborhood, where his father was a cop and his brother Gene is now on the force. Since Michael is the first male in his family whos not a cop, his career choice has created distance between him and his family. But his career at his firm Ledeen has taken a toll. He barely has time to see his ten-year-old son, of whom he shares custody with his ex-wife, and even less time to see his ailing father who’s in a home.

Worse yet, Michael has a younger alcoholic brother, Timmy, who’s responsible for driving their once-promising business venture into the ground and stuck Michael with an $80,000 debt, a sum he must pay in less than a week to avoid bad consequences. Hence, when the saga begins, Clayton’s one hope for escaping the fixer business is his “walk-away” money, and when that money is gone, he’s left with no options.

The film’s best scenes are not between Clayton and his father or brother, but between him and Arthur, the senior litigating partner and lead defense architect for the U/North case. This may be a combined result of the writing and superlative of Tom Wilkinson, who can do not wrong in any part he plays (remember “In the Bedroom”) Is Arthur paranoid or just mad, self-righteous or delusional Probably all of the above.

Angry, temperamental and moody in a mode that recalls Peter Finch’s newscaster and prophet of doom in “Network,” Wilkinson shows glimpses of brilliance followed by moments of despair, often within the same interaction. The thespian makes his character’s crisis of conscience utterly compelling.

Gradually we find out that, like other lawyers, Arthur began in the law profession fresh out of school with strong ideals and noble intentions, but his years on the job have forced him to defend the indefensible and become increasingly detached from who he once was, all for monetary and other superficial rewards, like his wish to preserve a certain way of life. In other words, Arthur is a quintessential Sidney Lumet hero, a man who has let his soul be sullied and corruptedand is now in desperate need for redemption.

With a recently deceased wife and an estranged daughter, Arthur has no family and is a diagnosed as manic-depressive. But as one of the firms best litigators, he has been ceaselessly devoted to protecting U/North for the last six years. The unintended by-product of Arthurs choices manifests itself in ways beyond anyones control, even Claytons.

The film opens impressively with a confessional monologue from Arthur–a classic stream of consciousness speech, expressing a frenzied desire to communicate his epiphany to Clayton, the only man he trusts and respects. Arthur and Michael share a distinct bond solidified through years of working together at the firm. Clayton’s ability to handle crises effectively had saved Arthur from a prior breakdown eight years before.

Since then, Arthur had sort of agreed to take prescribed medication and to turn to Clayton in case of relapse. Indeed, crisis occurs when Arthur skips his meds without talking to Clayton and suffers a complete breakdown. In fact, he begins to construct a case for the other side. The film’s central question thus becomes: Will Arthur be defused in time to save the case, or will he construct a good case for the plaintiffs. And then: will Clayton be able to “fix” it

One of the film’s least developed parts is that of Karen Crowder, played by Tilda Swinton, who’s doing her best but is too intelligent and alert for such a role. Karen is an ambitious lawyer who’s just been promoted to U/Norths in-house chief counsel, thus assuming the responsibility of guaranteeing successful outcomes in the class action suit. It’s here that Gilroy disappoints-he makes Karen stand for the entire faceless corporation, too much of an obvious villain, even when she breaks down at the end.

Despite a number of faults, “Michael Clayton” is an intelligent and enjoyable film, a worthy reminder as a cautionary tale of the problems that continue to plague the lives of decent, honest Americans in and outside the workplace.

Cast
Michael Clayton – George Clooney
Arthur Edens – Tom Wilkinson
Karen Crowder – Tilda Swinton
Marty Bach – Sydney Pollack
Barry Grissom – Michael O’Keefe

Credits

A Warner release presented in association with Samuels Media and Castle Rock Entertainment of a Mirage Enterprises/Section Eight production.
Produced by Sydney Pollack, Steven Samuels, Jennifer Fox, Kerry Orent.
Executive producers: Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, James Holt, Anthony Minghella.
Directed, written by Tony Gilroy.
Camera: Robert Elswit.
Editor: John Gilroy.
Music: James Newton Howard.
Production designer: Kevin Thompson.
Art director: Clay Brown.
Set decorators: George De Titta Jr., Charles M. Potter, Paul Cheponis, Christine Mayer.
Costume designer: Sarah Edwards.
Sound: Michael Barosky.

MPAA Rating: R.
Running time: 120 Minutes

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88