March 17th: Anti-Atticus Finch

72. Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy, 2007)

Smart mainstream Hollywood movies don’t come along too often anymore. This is a rare example. Perhaps it is part of George Clooney’s ongoing project to make some smart movies with his good buddy Steven Soderbergh. Clooney is Clayton, a lawyer with a large firm. But he isn’t an ordinary lawyer, he’s a bagman, a cleaner, a fixer. He deals with problem situations, the muddy stuff. He also deals with his own complicated life of debts, divorce and difficult family relationships. Clayton’s world becomes a lot more complicated when he becomes embroiled in a large class-action case that is falling apart for the law firm when evidence turns up about the explicit guilt of the company they are defending. Michael Clayton is a top notch bit of film-making where believably flawed characters collide in a murky world of double dealings and moral turpitude. Excellent performances all round, especially Tom Wilkinson (is he in every other film in America?) and the ethereal Tilda Swinton. Swinton has a fantastic role, her sheen of powerful professionalism is underscored with the amount of work that goes into presenting that front. Intelligent, professional and pretty nice to look at too – Michael Clayton is a rare throwback to the 70s when Hollywood gambled on some exceptional film-makers and came up trumps.

1 thought on “March 17th: Anti-Atticus Finch”

  1. I loved this movie, and I thought Swinton was exceptional too – which is especially impressive when everyone else in the cast was playing a blinder.

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