Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Michael Clayton

Reviews - Michael Clayton

Michael Clayton

Reviewed By John Stakes

My wife and I really enjoyed "Michael Clayton" on Sunday. I know it is a mainstream film and may therefore lend itself less to critical analysis than the arthouse variety, but set against others in the genre it was just about as good as it gets we thought. The opening montage brilliantly encapsulated the main themes and introduced us to the principal players in a telling but economic way. The Gilroy family combined expertly over plot construction and development so some difficult material was presented with clarity. In my view there was not a wasted frame and the overall direction showed a mastery of the subject matter and a real flair for allowing the story to unfurl ( how often are good scenes ruined by editorial scalpel wielders who assume we all have nominal attention spans? !! ). The gradual build-up paid dividends in the closing scenes ( e.g. it was edge of the seat stuff wondering how far the nasties would be behind Clooney when his car exploded ) and the denouement was priceless.

Perhaps I am biased - I used to be a lawyer ( not a corporate but a litigator nevertheless ) - but I've had to deal with the Tilda Swinton types over the years and their need to assert their ability and hard-won status at all costs was regularly evident - in short they were a pain in the neck and elsewhere. I did sympathise with her to the extent of forever having her client at her side hanging on her every word which is truly burdensome but her come-uppance was beautifully scripted and acted out. The acting throughout was uniformly high quality with Clooney applying an ensemble- inclusive approach and making no attempt to dominate the screen, so that all his lengthy time in front of the camera was spent in immersing himself in the lead role and the whiff of charisma never surfaced!

In short - great stuff.

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