Film Review of Michael Clayton: Two Lawyers with Consciences in a Leading Law Firm with Guilty Clients
Ruthless people can be counted upon to run ruthless businesses. They count upon leading law firms for protection from the consequences of breaking laws and causing harm. They do not expect to be tripped up by legal fixers such as “Michael Clayton”.
Big-buck causes and clients bolster Kenner, Bach and Ledeen in Michael Clayton by writer/director Tony Gilroy; and producers Jennifer Fox, Kerry Orent, Sydney Pollack, and Steven Samuels. Robert Elswit, John Gilroy, and James Newton Howard handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases Iowa and New York.
The film lasts 119 minutes. It participated in Venice, Deauville, and Toronto film festivals of August 31, September 2, and September 7, 2007. It premiered September 24, 2007 in NYC. Warner Bros. released the film September 28, 2007 in Ireland and the U.K. and October 5, 2007 in the U.S. It was nominated for Best Director, Leading and Supporting Actors, Original Score, Original Screenplay, and Picture. It won Tilda Swinton Best Supporting Actress.
The movie begins with Michael Clayton (George Clooney) playing poker before visiting the Greers (Denis O’Hare, Julie White). Greer believes that he may have committed a hit-and-run. Michael – firm “fixer” for wealthy clients — suggests contacting the best criminal lawyer and the police.
Michael drives off. He exits to admire brown, red and white horses. His car explodes. He leaves behind wallet and wristwatch before fleeing.
The movie backtracks four days. Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) ceases taking manic-depressive-controlling medications. He removes all but socks and shoes during a deposition in Wisconsin. He sneaks to NYC – where he cannot be involuntarily institutionalized – after Michael lodges and medicates him in a Milwaukee hotel.
The incident angers the firm and agrochemical giant U-North. General counsel Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton) does whatever keeps plaintiffs from winning their multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit against U-North. She has Iker (Terry Serpico) and Verne (Robert Prescott) bug Arthur’s apartment and telephone. She learns that Arthur:
- Accesses Memorandum 229 signed by VIP Don Jeffries (Ken Howard) and revealing U-North’s knowledge that culcitate causes cancer in well water-reliant farmers;
- Believes Anna’s (Merritt Wever) testimony.
She supports Iker’s and Verne’s invading Arthur’s apartment to stage an apparent suicide by lethally injecting Arthur’s left big toe.
Michael contacts Anna during her Airport Inn overnight stay prepaid by Arthur. From a receipt in Arthur’s apartment, Michael finds the shop printing 3,000 copies of Memorandum 229. He receives from Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack):
- $80,000, to pay brother Timmy’s (David Lansbury) $75,000 debt and play in the film’s opening game;
- 3-year-contract, with confidentiality requirement.
The film ends with Michael’s recording Karen’s $10,000,000 bribe; Don’s and Karen’s arrests by Michael’s brother Gene (Sean Cullen) while U-North’s board contemplates settlements; and Michael’s $50.00 taxi-ride through NYC.
Copyright: Wednesday, October 31, 2012, by Derdriu.