Sunday, November 04, 2007
Movie Review: Michael Clayton
I saw Michael Clayton yesterday. It is an impressive movie. Although it deals with a corrupt corporation, it's not trying to send a message about corporate America. It's just a well-crafted business/legal thriller. The leads, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Tom Wilkinson, give understated and realistic performances that form the core of the film. If they weren't there, the movie probably wouldn't work. This is the directorial debut of Tony Gilroy, who also wrote the script. He clearly knows his way around thrillers, having written the three Bourne Movies (though I've heard that Paul Greengrass pushed a lot of improvisation during The Bourne Ultimatum). What I found most compelling about this movie was its attention to detail. They put Clayton (Clooney) in a Mercedes, a very "old money" car, but he's only leasing it. It's as if he's trying to exude classy swank, but that's not actually who he is. Clayton is also always well-dressed, but during one scene, you can see the creases in his shirt created by packing it in his luggage. He tries to look well-pressed and perfect, but he's actually living his life from day to day, out of his suitcase. There were times while I was watching the movie that I felt bored, and I wasn't sure what the movie was trying to do. But as I neared the end of the film, I realized that this bored, unattached feeling was exactly what the movie wanted to create, because it lulls you into a place of security. Then with the conclusion, that security is ripped forcefully away.