“George of the corporate jungle”_ Michael Clayton _ Title: Michael Clayton

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If this film does anything it reaffirms the fact that George Clooney was born to wear a suit. Not too many people in the cinema world pull off the look like old Clooney. Style aside Michael Clayton is a well written, expertly acted drama that draws you in and keeps you riveted until the end. This film screams arty without losing its edginess. This is the first director’s chair for Tony Gilroy who also wrote the screenplay for the film. If the name sounds familiar it is because he also penned the screenplays for the Jason Bourne series. In comparison to Bourne Clayton is in the process of trying to discover who and what he is. Not from any sort of mind games or brainwashing but from the day in and day out deceptions of the corporate world.

Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is a fixer for a prominent corporate law firm in NY. With a law background he has spent his years taking care of all the in-house issues that arise with the firms dirtiest situations. There is a mystery surrounding his position and he is the guy to call when no one else is left. Using his connections and charisma he finds a way to coral the most out of control members and clean up the various loose ends. The irony is that of all the people at the firm, Michael is the most out of control. Mounting debt, failed relationships and nerves on the brink of shattering bring him to the point of ultimate burn out. When a top, guilt ridden attorney (Tom Wilkinson) begins to sabotage a high profile client, Clayton must discern what truth to uncover and which to leave hidden. All while keeping his own life in balance.

The cast of this film is amazing. These are actors who purr in any role as they move so fluid with drama and emotion. Tilda Swinton is an executive member of the client being sabotaged and finds herself making decisions that she never thought she would have to make. Swinton plays the nervous exec with believable neurotic anxiety as her character lays it all on the line. Swinton is comfortable in her skin and it shows here. Tom Wilkinson’s character is maniac depressive as well as brilliant and Tom plays each trait to perfection as he always does. Add that with Clooney’s wit and stylish charm, and of course the suit, and this movie has it all. And the ending is top notch.

Michael Clayton is rated R for language including some sexual dialogue. The action is mild and the violence kept to a minimum. This is a mental movie with the styling of a high class Grisham novel. The language is adult and the sexual dialogue, though descriptive and blunt is kept to one scene. The scene so defines the characters state of mind and thought process that it necessary and not gratuitous at all. But it is there so be aware of that. Other than that I think you would be hard pressed to find a better legal drama to hit theaters in some time and I give it a solid 4 out of 5 billable hours.

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)(10/12/07)

“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and co-hosts a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies, with his wife Cindy. For additional reviews, interview clips and great DVD giveaways, visit the website www.mungleshow.com”

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