Michael Clayton

Release Date: October 5, 2007
Wide release October 12th
Limited release

I think my movie directing is better than yours!

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
4/48 Kim Hollis An intelligent, complex drama that keeps the viewer on her toes. Tom Wilkinson is amazing.
6/94 Shane Jenkins Clooney's best performance ever by a long shot. Just good, solid entertainment all around.
8/46 Les Winan Clooney is great and the movie does a good job of being satisfying without wrapping everything up in a neat little bow.
9/33 John Seal Tort reform? Not while Michael Clayton's on the job.
23/214 Max Braden A well told story until the end when the plot climax is distractingly unrealistic.

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Michael Clayton is not a biopic about the storybook 2004 season of a rookie Tampa Bay wide receiver. So, if you expect to see Jon Gruden scowling, you will be disappointed. If, however, you are a fan of that hunky, debonair George Clooney, on the other hand, you are in business. The Academy Award winning actor has signed on to frontline this 2007 answer to the 1990s movie adaptations of John Grisham.

The titular Clayton is an attorney nicknamed The Janitor. At his prominent law firm, Kenner, Bach & Ledeen, the man has a reputation for being the man who cleans up all of the messes no one else may be trusted to handle. Clayton has no pretenses about what he is, a mercenary whose primary profession is defending the indefensible. He is no different than any of the other lawyers at his firm other than in the fact that he is better at his job than them.

After 15 years of total success, Clayton finds his life's work undone during his most challenging case. A $5 billion lawsuit has been placed against one of his clients, U/North, and he has no choice but to lead the defense. Broke, divorced and bitter, the man has no home life of which to speak and a financial motivation to keep working for the bad guys in life. He has a counterpart in Kenner, Bach & Ledeen attorney Arthur Edens (Academy Award nominated actor Tom Wilkinson) except for the fact that Edens has had an epiphany. This man has had enough of working for the corrupt. He seeks to undo the defense Clayton has created for U/North. Eden, the most lauded attorney in the firm's history, is an imposing foe on his own, but the worst aspect of his behavior is that Clayton is forced to look at himself. He does not like what he sees.

The description of Michael Clayton forcibly reminds some of The Firm, the Tom Cruise movie wherein a young would-be sellout of a litigator comes to realize he is working for a mob firm. Once the attorney, Mitch McDeere, realizes he is working for the bad guys, he faces a decision about the man he wants to be. He is guided along the way by lost soul attorney, Avery Tolar, a sellout who believes himself beyond redemption. Michael Clayton may play out much differently, but it is difficult to ignore the surface similarities. Of course, given that The Firm earned $158.3 million domestically, a total that inflation adjusts to roughly $260 million, maybe this is intentional. The early buzz on Michael Clayton is mediocre enough that such a performance seems unlikely, but BOP is loathe to discount the overriding appeal of George Clooney. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Michael Clayton
Main Cast George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
Supporting Cast Sydney Pollack, Pamela Gray
Director Tony Gilroy
Screenwriter Tony Gilroy
Distributor Warner Bros.
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://www.michaelclayton.com/
Rating R
Also see Eric Hughes reviews Michael Clayton
Awards Awards page for Michael Clayton
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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