Sunday, November 18, 2007

Movie Review: Michael Clayton

I must say, every time I see a new George Clooney movie, I get more respect for him. Partially for his acting ability, and partially for his choice in movies/roles. (I’m told he’s a looker, too, but I don’t see it. heh.)

I saw Michael Clayton today, and I loved it. Without giving anything away, it’s about a lawyer—the Michael Clayton of the title—who has kind of a nebulous job description. He’s a “fixer”. (This may be part of the reason I had so much empathy for the Clayton character; I find myself in a similar situation. (In certain respects; I’m not saying I’m a lot like him.) People I work with find me very useful—maybe even indispensable, when things go wrong—but it’s very hard to tell people exactly what I do. And it would be hard to justify my job to “bean counters”, if I were ever pressed to do so.) Another lawyer in the firm, Arthur Edens, is manic depressive, and has a breakdown after going off his meds; Clayton is being asked to get Edens under control. The case Edens is working on, and has been working on for six years, is for a very large corporation, and is worth billions, which is what the plot hinges on.

It’s a smart script, and very well executed. I don’t normally talk about favourite scenes from a movie, but in this case, I did have two favourite scenes, and they were the first scene and the last scene.

The first scene, over the opening credits—if I remember correctly—is simply Eden’s voice. We don’t see him, we just hear his voice, while we see establishing shots of office buildings in New York. I was hooked just listening to him speak; I was going to post his speech here, but I couldn’t find a copy of the script online. (Oh, I’m sure it’s there somewhere. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if some smart arse posts a link to it hours after this gets published…)

And the last scene, over the closing credits, is the opposite. We just see a Clayton’s face; nobody is talking, and the camera never leaves his face.

I highly recommend the movie. I don’t know how much longer it will be playing—maybe by the time you read this it will be out of the theatres already—but there’s always the DVD you can rent, when it comes out.