Posted by: kfugrip | November 9, 2007

One hundred eight: Michael Clayton

Michael Clayton, written and directed by Tony Gilroy, is a film that I didn’t work on. Why mention this? 99.9% of the films I watch I didn’t work on. This is a film that might, might, have been a film I could work on but I am a sometimes slacker/fuck-up and I missed the opportunity. I hold no grudge (how could I?) however and it will show in this post.

Michael Clayton is about a “fixer” for a successful law firm, played by George Clooney. The fixer becomes involved in the mental breakdown/moment of clarity of one of the firm’s top litigators (Tom Wilkinson) who is head of the defense of the firm’s biggest case. The case, which involves a corporation’s negligence leading to the poisoning of people, pushes the characters, including Tilda Swinton’s coporate executive, into compromising and life changing situations. Michael Clayton is at the center of this, and this film is his story.

What I liked: George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, and Tilda Swinton and phenomenal and are worth the price of admission alone. It just so happens that Michael Clayton is an interesting story about a person I didn’t know existed: a fixer. The moral quandary of this film is so powerful that it drives people to kill and that level of dramatic device is always a good way to start a movie with the giant personalities of these actors.

Tony Gilroy, as the writer and director, is devoted to the material and his direction is subservient to it. The characters seem real to me and so do their relationships. The entire film was believable and tense and written in an intelligent manner.

Also, great poster.

What I didn’t like: The ending was a bit pat. I’m not enamored with a climax that includes a long speech. Some of the subplot threads went nowhere and didn’t enrich the characters as much as the plot.

4 stars




  1. great review.

    i think i agree with everything you said, except the speech bit, and normally i would agree with that as well, but i felt in this context, with a character that has been living such a quiet and “subservient” type of lifestyle where nobody cares about HIM or asks HIM anything except how to do for them, it was a well earned speech…and delivered expertly by Clooney.

  2. I worked on Michael Clayton.

  3. I hated this movie. Why would a fixer at an NYC law firm be worried over $80k? Christ, youu know expensive it is to wash blood out of the back of Benz these days?

    Also, the car bomb seemed totallly absurd to me. Where are we 1983 Belfast? If youre going to carbomb someone, just use an RPG.

    No offense to those who worked on this, it looked great, just the movie itself didnt do it for me.

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