A ``fixer'' (George Clooney) at a corporate law firm faces the biggest challenge of his career when a guilt-ridden attorney (Tom Wilkinson) has a breakdown during a class-action lawsuit.
" [A] smoldering corporate thriller. "
" A throwback to trim, intelligent moral thrillers like The Verdict and Absence of Malice. "
" By now, George Clooney is so smooth, he could be a brand name like Gillette or Ex-Lax. "
" Confident in the story's power and the moviegoers' intelligence, Gilroy uses only one explosion to own our rapt attention. "
" Every performance in this film is spot-on. "
" Full of plausible characters who are capable of surprising - and surpassing - your expectations. "
" If Michael Clayton's particular mix of law and commerce gets a little murky, that murkiness also gives the film a shadowy aura. "
" It's about issues of personal responsibility and moral duty. "
" One of my favorite movies of the year. "
" Smart and exciting, Michael Clayton takes the audience on a ride whose pleasures almost sneak up on you and are all the more satisfying because of it. "
" Stop printing the ballots. Don't waste money on those "for your consideration" Oscar ads. There is but one contender for best supporting actor this year, and it is Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton. "
" The movie's plot may be familiar, but its hero is a unique and memorable creation. "
" The ultimate showcase for the defining male lead of our time. "
" There are more than ample rewards for discerning adults: Some of the best dialogue in a recent movie and a gallery of unforgettable performances. "
" This doesn't begin to deserve the Oscar nominations it's likely to get, but I had a good time with it nonetheless. "
" This is Gilroy's first film as director; I can't wait to see what he's got next. "
" This is unequivocally a thriller for adults "
" While the plot is complex in the telling, it unfolds onscreen with propulsive fascination. "
George Clooney plays the title character in this legal thriller from writer/director Tony Gilroy. Clooney is a ‘fixer’ lawyer at a huge law firm in New York City. He’s the one you call when you have a situation you need cleaned up discreetly. When one of the firm’s top lawyers Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) has a meltdown and is about to blow one of the largest cases they have, Clayton gets tasked to reign him in to fix the problem. Once Clayton starts to delve deeper into what made Edens break down and what he is talking about, he starts to discover that there are some more devious dealings happening behind closed doors than previously thought.
Clooney is rock solid in his performance as a lawyer who wrestles with his conscience and can’t get out from under his troubles which include gambling, a divorce and a failed restaurant business. Tom Wilkinson shines as the borderline crazy supporting lawyer who might just be on to something. And Tilda Swinton gives a reserved, restrained performance as an insecure litigator whose career rests on the outcome of the case. This is definitely a legal thriller in the vein of The Pelican Brief or The Devil’s Advocate, which writer/director Tony Gilroy also penned. It’s not as uplifting as Erin Brockovich, but it’s not as much of a downer as A Civil Action.
I liked this movie but I wanted to love it. It’s entertaining enough and the final showdown scene between Clayton and Swinton’s character is great, but I wanted it to be more. Maybe I found it tough to relate to and feel sorry for a high paid New York lawyer who has gotten himself to this point in his life with his debt and other struggles when that is the choice he must have made when he began his career at this firm. He chose to be this ‘fixer’ and now he’s having a change of heart? Maybe it’s too little too late for Clayton. He could use his own fixer.
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