Michael Clayton (2007)

George Clooney takes a well deserved break from being Danny Ocean in the drama, Michael Clayton. It is a variant from the usual type of lawyer movies, typified by John Grisham's work where most of the action takes place in the courtroom. This is more of a morality play and character study that reminds me of The Insider at some points.

Clooney portrays Michael Clayton, a lawyer in a high power NYC law firm. His position is "the fixer," which makes him a highly paid janitor that uses his legal degree to clean up messes, while the rest of the firm focuses on the usual duties (not to be confused with this fixer). The movie starts at the end, as Clayton heads to Westchester to start the cleanup process for a well to do man that ran someone over and then left the scene of the accident. On his return trip, his car ends up blowing up. We rewind four days to piece together how he ends up being the target of a murder plot (I kinda wish they would just run it from start to finish as it gets more confusing this way, and didn't add much overall). Along the way, we see Clayton is trying to fix his brother's gambling debt, and his relationship with his son is strained. His law firm has been defending a agriculture chemical company from a massive lawsuit, which will be hard to wiggle out of, and the senior partner on the case goes completely manic when he is needed most requiring the services of the fixer to make it right. Through it all, Clooney portrays a man that is in this world deeply, skirts the law himself, and in the end, just wants to get out of the situation that is his daily life.

In my analysis, I can see why folks thought this film was so great, but I don't agree. While Clooney's performance is strong, I found the plot confusing at points, and not quite right. Seriously, after working for a multimillion law firm for years and not making partner, would Clooney's "golden parachute" be $75,000 that he has to beg for? Michael Clayton just didn't end with a satisfying sense of finality that I would have expected from it. While die hard Clooney fans will find this film a treat, I just don't what the hoopla was all about.

Overall Grade: B

Reviewed by Jonas

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