Sunday, March 6, 2016
Review: Michael Clayton (2007)
A strange tiger of a legal thriller that stays a respectable distance from true Lawyer Porn (Anatomy of a Murder). Killer dialogue, an insane inside man muddying the Erin Brokovich style shit at the center, plot elements that proceed in slight abnormal order, and what Gilroy probably meant to do when he wrote The Devil's Advocate. The film is a lot of air; the big scenes are when characters try to interact with each other, yammer on about a metaphorical computer game, or stare longingly at horses and wonder how it all got to this. The smaller moments are when the plot moves. Move too fast and the movie is over.
It's damn good but it ain't perfect. Not only does it suffer from the shitty '4 Days Earlier...' cliché that could have easily been excised with a couple of quick script edits, it treats the idea of a Manic-Depressive committing suicide as WEIRD and a goddamned car bomb as NOT THAT WEIRD AT ALL. Most important of all, Tom Wilkinson burns it down so hard that when his character is absent, the film suffers. Not enough that it matters so much in the end, not with Sydney Pollack picking up the slack and that final shot bringing us home. The integrity is its own reward.