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Michael Clayton (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD)
Michael Clayton
Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD
Actors: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Michael O'Keefe, Sydney Pollack
Director: Tony Gilroy
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2008     1hr 59min

Attorney Michael Clayton is a "fixer," the go-to guy when his powerful New York law firm wants a mess swept under the rug. But now he?s handed a crisis even he may not be able to fix. The firm?s top litigator in a $3-billi...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Michael O'Keefe, Sydney Pollack
Director: Tony Gilroy
Creators: George Clooney, Tony Gilroy, Anthony Minghella, Christopher Goode, James A. Holt, Jennifer Fox, Kerry Orent
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: HD DVD - Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/11/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 59min
Screens: Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French, Spanish, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

"The Verdict" meets "Erin Brockovich" with mostly satisfying
Steven Hedge | Somewhere "East of Eden" | 10/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"George Clooney once again shows us the Hollywood powerhouse he is as lead actor and producer of this engaging film.

While the film is essentially well-written and extremely well-acted, it offers nothing new to the corporate thriller genre and most of Amazon's comments in their review are dead on accurate. The film is essentially a mystery that involves corporate baddies trying to screw over the little guy by covering up a danger to the public. We've seen this plot before in film's like Erin Brockovich. In addition, we have a conscience driven lawyer who is tired of defending criminals he knows are guilty and another lawyer who is burnt out from playing the firm's "Janitor" and now wants to find some moral ground to land upon. Both lawyers are seeking some kind of redemption. The first has a nervous breakdown finding it and the second is forced to find it as his life spirals out of control. This is very much like Paul Newman's Oscar nominated role in the fabulous film The Verdict.

The script is clever, but all too predictable by the final third of the film. In fact, as generally satisfying as the finale is, it is something of a letdown too. Things are wrapped up far too neatly for what was a complex film with deep round central characters. Clooney's character has his nature revealed to us slowly as if peeling a rotten onion. Each layer is ultimately unsatisfying until we get to the core which seems damaged, but salvageable. I certainly expect another Oscar nomination for him and it's well-earned here. Tom Wilkinson as the manic depressive attorney who has an epiphany that his corporate clients should not get away with what they are doing is a bit over-the-top and even stereotypical, but still convincing in the end. A supporting Oscar nod is not out of the question, but I think he would be undeserving of it. Contrary to a majority of the reviews here, even Tilda (The Chronicles of Narnia) Swinton's controlling corporate bigwig who lies to herself to justify her actions is a deeper character than most give credit for her being. Her avoidance of actually saying, "Kill (fill in the blank)" coupled with her sweating fit scene clearly demonstrates a believably conflicted individual. I would not be surprised to see an Oscar nod for supporting actress come her way. Even Sydney Pollack, sometimes director (but better actor), is very convincing here and he also serves as co-producer with Clooney. These generally terrific performances nearly make up for a somewhat flat ending.

Credit must be given to first time director James Gilroy who adapted the "Bourne" books to film and wrote the screenplay for this film. He handles his actors well in that he knows what he wants, but also trusts their instincts to deliver what they believe are their character's true emotions. His directing style in unobtrusive and that greatly benefits this particular kind of film. His lack of coming up with a more complex, less tidy ending is his only major flaw in this otherwise outstanding film that is certainly worth your trip to your local theater or Blockbuster when it becomes available on DVD."
The Bad and the Beautiful
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 10/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Tony Gilroy has already proven that he can weave/write a great story via his writing for the "Bourne" franchise. And the striking thing about "Michael Clayton" is how Gilroy has written ironic, conflicted, complicated characters that are at once "good" (and in the world that Gilroy has created here...this is in itself a term that is up for interpretation) yet are often bad as in unethical, mean, misanthropic. These characters can and do betray themselves and others: There's no one to truly love or hate, from Sydney Pollack's quietly devious law firm CEO, to Tom Wilkinson's holy madman of an ace courtroom defense attorney, to Tilda Swinton as a tricky senior partner in nice suits that peel off to reveal sweaty armpits and a gift for rationalization. Even our hero, Michael Clayton as portrayed by George Clooney is a loser: a 12 year veteran at his law firm who is utilized as a bag man, a fixer usually dispatched to do what amounts to private eye work.: cleaning up the firm's client messes. Clayton is a failure both professionally and personally: a failure as a father, brother, husband and Clooney strikes just the right notes here as Clayton struggles, fights to regain his dignity both as an officer of the court and more importantly as a father and a human being.
The central plot revolves around a large chemical firm's responsibility for sickness and deaths in a farm community and because Gilroy weaves and bobs among the big ensemble cast and among the various plot points, I was hard pressed to figure out just exactly what was going on for the first half hour. But this is to Gilroy's credit: he refuses to foreshadow or explain thus adding texture and ambiguity to the film.
Moral and social dilemmas multiply as "Michael Clayton" races to its exciting denouement: a denouement that satisfies both emotionally and morally. Yet all is not as it seems here as Gilroy manages to leave a small festering wound of deceit and decay not quite healed: ready to re-open and re-infect itself.
"
An Intense, Skillfully Written, Directed and Acted Thriller
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"'The truth can be adjusted' is the official tag line for this brilliant film MICHAEL CLAYTON, a film that deserves and demands audience attention to appreciate all of the layers of complexities of thought and message while delivering a slick, brooding, polished piece of cinematic art. First time director is highly regarded writer Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Cutting Edge, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Identity, The Devil's Advocate, Proof of Life, Dolores Claiborne, etc) who understands the tension of suspense films and here adds to that entertainment element the key ingredients of social and philosophical statements. It is a film that works on many levels.

Michael Clayton (George Clooney, in one of his finest moments) is a lawyer with a major firm headed by tough yet compassionate CEO Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack, finally in top form as an actor), but Michael's position in the firm has been reduced to a 'fixer/janitor', a man who cleans up messes that are always part of legal cases. Michael is cool, brilliant, but is struggling with his own demons of gambling addiction, inherited debt from covering for his wasted alcoholic/druggie brother's failure as a restaurateur, and a divorced man trying to relate to his son. When a long term law suit against a major chemical corporation comes to a head, the chief lawyer for the case Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) falls victim to the pressure of the case, and while he holds the key to the truths involved, he disintegrates into a manic depressive state. The chemical company's lawyer Karen Crowder (a brilliant Tilda Swinton) struggles to please her Board of Directors in a plea bargain that is backed by all manner of lies and crimes. It is Michael Clayton that persists in 'fixing' and cleaning up the case, uncovering a massive tragedy the company has been shielding. To say more (and there is SO much more to tell!) would spoil the development of this nail-biting plot.

Every actor involved in this film is superb, thanks in large part to the sensitive direction of Tony Gilroy. Clooney proves he is one of our more well rounded actors on the screen today, Wilkinson continues to prove his mettle as a character actor par excellence, and Swinton is so fine in this tough role that she leaves the audience staggering. Watching MICHAEL CLAYTON restores faith in just how fine Hollywood movies can be. It is sure to be on the list in many categories come Awards time. Grady Harp, October 07
"
Entertaining within limits
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 10/28/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"***1/2

If "Michael Clayton" didn't seem like quite so obvious a rehash of Sidney Lumet`s "The Verdict," I might be inclined to recommend it more highly. The basic premise of both films revolves around a dissolute legal type who achieves personal redemption when he lands on the "right" side of a class action lawsuit. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the best thing to be said for the makers of "Michael Clayton" is that, if they had to find a movie to emulate, they at least chose one worth emulating.

Michael Clayton is no longer a practicing attorney himself but rather a "fixer" or "bagman" for a powerful legal firm, a man whose job it is to troubleshoot or run interference for any potential problems that might arise in one of its many cases. As with most such protagonists, Clayton spends so much time at his job that he doesn't have much of a personal life going for him: he's a divorced father with a serious gambling problem, a drug-addicted brother, and a failed business that has him in hock to the tune of $80,000. One of the firm's biggest clients is a chemical company whose powerful weed killing formula has allegedly resulted in serious medical conditions and even death for some of the farmers and their families who've come in contact with it. Clayton is called into action when the lead attorney for the defense suddenly goes berserk at a taped hearing, stripping off his clothes and launching into a Howard Beale-like rant for the other side. As he delves further into the case, Clayton undergoes a metamorphosis from cynical corporate water-carrier to enlightened populist do-gooder, finding personal redemption and fulfillment by helping the common man in his fight for justice.

"Michael Clayton" is, for the most part, a solid legal thriller, serious, intelligent and extremely well-served in the acting department. The "little man vs. vile corporation" theme has been pretty much played out by this time, but there are enough twists and turns in the plot and enough decent red herrings to keep us interested at least on a superficial level. The story goes through periods of murkiness when it isn't always clear what exactly is going on, but writer/director Tony Gilroy manages to straighten out most of the confusion in time for the finale. The moody score, bleak winter settings and dank cinematography all contribute to the chilly atmosphere that permeates the film.

In a role tailor-made for his acting style - stoic yet heartfelt, rugged yet vulnerable - George Clooney carries the weight of the film on his sturdy shoulders. The gifted Tilda Swinton doesn't fare quite so well with her character - a ruthless, emotionally unstable career woman with no personal life and no romantic prospects, a character, quite frankly, that feels just a trifle out-of-date in the year 2007. Tom Wilkinson, Sydney Pollack and Michael O'Keefe excel in minor roles.

"Michael Clayton" is a proficient, professional legal drama that never cuts as deeply or touches the heart as profoundly as one would like for it to do. Still, compared to most other cinematic offerings around at the moment, this is substantial, if not exactly sumptuous, movie going fare."