Michael Clayton

Michael Clayton

I just took in Michael Clayton at the Majestic Bay. This is a powerhouse of a movie in a very idiosyncratic way. Rather than blow the viewers out of their seats with guns, explosions, or a semi-naked Jessica Alba, the producers opted for a real actor’s ensemble performance, with a workable script and great direction and cinematography.

First, a word about the performances: George Clooney is very good in his title role. I saw elsewhere that he’s now Hollywood’s “most watchable” leading man, and it’s probably true. Tom Wilkinson is stellar in his supporting role as Arthur Eden, a brilliant, bipolar attorney. But the real performance, because it made a full meal out of what, in other movies, might have been a cookie-cutter role, is Tilda Swinton as Karen Crowder, the fatally flawed general counsel for the fictional company U/North *cough BP cough*.

Second, I can’t say enough about the director’s work here. He really wallows in the film, and treats scenes not just as scenes, with a start, end, and purpose, but as a way to get into the subtext of the movie. Yet he’s not overbearing and doesn’t try to insert himself in every scene the way some directors do. For example, the scene in the washroom stall with Tilda Swinton was so wholly unexpected, yet natural, and it made a huge impression.

Go see this film. You won’t be disappointed.

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