Michael Clayton Reviews
Watched this on 4/5/15
Beautifully scripted and extremely well made, Michael Clayton has superb acting from George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton. It's script is flawless and it captures the viewer's attention from the beginning to the very end. I don't understand why people dislike it so much, there may be a few other films of the same nature, but that can't be considered as a fault.
Michael Clayton reminds such movies.
I got so bored and the acting was unconvincing. How could this film be nominated for so many awards is beyond me. Oh wait, I know, liberal critics and Hollywood.
Acting - 9
Writing - 9.5
Dialogue - 9
Plot & Characterization - 9
Cinematography & Editing - 9
Soundtrack/Score & Set Design - 8.5
How much I enjoyed it personally - 7.5
Michael Clayton has an interesting concept to it as it deals with the reality about how law firms always focus on the small loopholes in the legal system as a way of protecting their clients and sustaining business. And the fact that Tony Gilroy is able to actually create a feature length film out of this concept is fairly impressive. Although Michael Clayton may not be as consistently entertaining as it should be, it is a tightly scripted film which has a complex but easy to follow plot and a lot of strong dialogue for the cast to build up from. He crafts a legal thriller out of it, but not a legal thriller that is built on shootouts rather one that is all focused on the fear of not knowing what could happen and the want to discover and learn everything so that you can keep one step ahead of a potential threat. The story has a thrilling atmosphere to it enhanced by the fact that the story feels very realistic, and so it is easy to see just viewers would find it interesting.
Michael Clayton is not really my kind of film though. Full of legal politics, Michael Clayton is built on the complex corruption involved in a law firm, Michael Clayton is a film obsessed with talking. It has a lot more talking than walking, and while the dialogue was strong and the dynamics were interesting, the fact that there was so much talking to take it made the film a little dull at times. Overall the film was interesting and its concepts were great, I just wish that it explored them more directly instead of spending most of the film talking about them instead. I know that this isn't what should be expected from a film like Michael Clayton, but it didn't keep me consistently interested in what was happening. Michael Clayton would appeal more to crowds who are fond of political films, but since it is not one of my more favoured genres I did not find Michael Clayton to be the best choice of film for me. It was certainly a more interesting example than many other films of the same genre, but it wasn't enough to consistently grip me. I found myself enjoying Michael Clayton at many moments, but in the scenes where they transition into other drama I felt that things were merely dull.
But still, Michael Clayton has enough interesting scenes to warrant it being a good film. It was consistently dramatised well and had some powerful moments, and it was always well scripted, so Tony Gilroy contributes a lot to the film as the writer and director of Michael Clayton.
And under his firm directional effort, the cast in Michael Clayton is able to let all of their talents flourish.
George Clooney's performance as the titular Michael Clayton is what ties the entire film together. My favourite aspect of the film, George Clooney's performance in Michael Clayton is one of the best of his career. He combines his natural sophistication with his ability to deliver his lines with intelligent thought and wisdom behind him, and it seems like a perfectly befitting role for him to be cast in a legal thriller simply because when he talks about things he really knows what they are and what relevance to the story they have. He delivers his words with dramatic passion and fierce dedication to the film, and when he engages with other characters you can see some restrained but serious emotional power in him. It is excellent to behold because while the material comes and goes in entertainment value, George Clooney consistently carries the weight of the film on his shoulders and never has a dull moment in his performance which is my favourite of all the dramatic efforts in his career. Michael Clayton is worth checking out if for nothing else then solely for the performance of George Clooney which reminds us just what makes him such an excellent actor in the first place.
Tilda Swinton's performance is also very impressive. Called the best of her career and the performance which won her the 2007 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Tilda Swinton makes an excellent supporting effort in Michael Clayton. Although George Clooney is my personal favourite of the cast, Tilda Swinton manages to work hard to capture the interest of the viewers and it pays off fairly well. Her line delivery is firm and has subtle undertones which the audience is left to decipher, and it is an interesting experience. Her most interesting moments are when she interacts with George Clooney because the two of them share a powerful and tense chemistry. Tilda Swinton confidently faces off with the role without fear and challenges viewers with the endeavour of acting skill in her performance which is very impressive, and so it is not hard to see how she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Michael Clayton.
Tom Wilkinson's supporting effort is a powerful one as well. Refusing to take a back seat to the rest of the cast, Tom Wilkinson gives it his all and manages to score an Academy Award nomination for his firm dramatic effort in Michael Clayton which makes the film all the more compelling. He has a strong chemistry with George Clooney in the scenes where they directly interact and so he manages to live up to the standard of acting set by the film without problem. Tom Wilkinson's powerful line delivery makes the drama of Michael Clayton all the more strong and makes the film even more entertaining.
Sydney Pollack also gives a strong supporting performance.
So although Michael Clayton is a consistently slow paced film which has some dull moments between its effective ones, it is written and directed with great dramatization and acted with serious gusto thanks to the cast, particularly the excellent leading performance from George Clooney.