Michael Clayton on DVD

Michael Clayton on DVD.  It’s a blockbuster movie week in my household with American Gangster and Gone Baby Gone on tap for the weekend.  Hopefully, they will live up to their hype better than Michael Clayton did.  The biggest problem with this supposed thriller is that director Tony Gilroy chose to time-shift the plot, showing viewers critical action early and then spending most of the movie describing the four days leading up to that point.  I hate when directors use time-shifting and it especially diminishes the tension level in this film.  George Clooney is fine in the title role as a fixer for a big law firm, working the gray areas of the legal system when things get messy for clients.  When a long-time colleague, the chief litigator in a case for a major client, starts behaving erratically, Clayton is called in to clean up the situation and get everyone back on track.  However, the client, a global agricultural firm, and their in-house counsel, played by Tilda Swinton, have other ideas about how to resolve matters.  I am surprised that Swinton won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this role given how little time she appears on screen.  The sub-plots involving Clayton’s faltering finances and personal life are nicely interwoven into the main plot line and add to the development of his character.  Despite these good points, Gilroy’s meddling eliminates most of the suspense and ruins what could have been a very good film.

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