Michael Clayton

DVD Reviews | Feb 6th, 2008

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Starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Michael O’Keefe, Sydney Pollack, Danielle Skraastad, Tilda Swinton
Written By: Tony Gilroy
Directed By: Tony Gilroy
Studio: Warner Bros
Buy on Amazon.com

Michael Clayton is a legal thriller starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Sydney Pollack and Tilda Swinton. The movie was written and directed by Tony Gilroy, who wrote all of the Bourne movies. I had no idea what this movie was about but since George Clooney was in it, I decided to check it out. The film has been praised by critics and has been nominated for 7 Academy Awards. Seeing the film for the first time might be a bit confusing for some people, but this is a film you need to see twice just to figure out what the hell is going on!

The film is about Michael Clayton (George Clooney), an attorney that works at a NYC law firm and specializes in “fixing” things. No, not fixing plumbing or cars but situations involving people within the law firm and clients of the firm. One night, Michael is informed that one of his friends and the leading attorney of the firm, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson), had a mental breakdown. He pretty much sabotaged a huge court case he was working on. The law suit was up over 3 billion times so I guess I can see why people were so crazy about it. The breakdown was during the disposition of the firm’s largest client U-North, an agricultural company. Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton), the chief counsel of U-North finds that Edens left behind his briefcase after being taken away by authorities. She discovers the incriminating evidence against U-North and puts forth a plan to monitor Arthur Edens at all times. While all this is happening, Michael Clayton is trying to figure out what’s really going on. The deeper Michael gets, the more his life is in jeopardy.

I was kind of confused with this movie at first. It might have been that I was sleepy and not paying close attention but I definitely need to see this movie again. It’s a slow-paced film but has some great performances from Clooney, Wilkinson and Swinton. I’ve liked Clooney as an actor since From Dusk Til Dawn. I just think he brings this great charisma to his characters. Ironic sidenote, the character Michael Clayton went to Washingtonville high school, the next town over from me. I had to give a chuckle when I heard that. Each character in the movie is complex and so is Gilroy direction. He doesn’t give away too much in the beginning and as a viewer, you struggle to figure out what is happening. It took me a good half hour to figure what the hell was going on with the movie. I’m not sure it was intended to be complex but I would have done it a different way. I did like the last half hour the best because it was all coming together nicely. You realize a scene you saw the beginning is coming together and smacking yourself in the forehead. At least I didn’t see anything that said “a few days earlier…”

If you’re a fan of audio commentary and additional scenes, well that’s about all you get with this DVD. The audio commentary is with writer/director Tony Gilroy and editor John Gilroy. I didn’t get a chance to listen to it but I did check out the additional scenes and they were okay. The scenes were with Michael’s ex-wife, the attorney that calls Michael Clayton in the beginning of the movie, and the two assassins that Karen hires. The scenes were basically cut for time and continuity. The scene with the assassins should have been left in the movie I think because it shows them examining the bomb they put in Michael’s car. They want to make it look like a Russian mob hit and not something similar to the other death. The extras weren’t that great when it came down to it though. Something is seriously lacking from these extras like featurettes and stuff like that.

Overall, Michael Clayton is a good film that is complex, dark and slow-paced but has excellent acting and unique storytelling & direction from Gilroy. If you think this movie is something you might like, then check it out!

Additional Scenes
Audio Commentary

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 2.40:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: I like the scenes with Tom Wilkinson & George Clooney, and the last half hour of the movie.
Rating: R
Running Time: 119 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: