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Have you ever had a moment in your life where you feel so stuck in a rut that any attempt to escape seems utterly hopeless? Perhaps it was caused by being overworked at the ol' nine to five, or by trying to resolve too many problems for other people. Perhaps it was because you failed at something that you were incredibly passionate about. Or, worst of all, maybe there was a time when the morals or ethics of your duties were fundamentally questionable. In the case of Michael Clayton, in Tony Gilroy's most recent film, all of these things are happening to him at once.
George Clooney plays Michael Clayton, a former lawyer who has become a "janitor" for a large law firm. He has learned to capitalize on his legal knowledge as a man who is routinely summoned to clean up the legal messes of some highly valued clients. Sounds like a reasonable gig. However, after years of intense struggles, a failed attempt at running a bar, long hours and dealing with despicable legal ethics, Michael Clayton has reached a mid-life crisis of epic proportions.
This movie had a very complex and intelligent script, both from a legal perspective and a moral one. Clooney does an excellent job depicting the conflicts Clayton was forced to deal with in his personal life and in his line of work. Clooney rose above all expectations and proved that he is a great character actor. Every detail, from the moment this film opens, to the critical scenes at the end, is intimately and necessarily intertwined with each other. I apologize if I seem vague in my description of this movie, but honestly, any further information would only reveal key plot points that might ruin it for you.
This is a fantastic work by screenwriter/director Tony Gilroy and actors George Clooney, TomWilkinson, Tilda Swinton and Sydney Pollack.
As a side note, Tony Gilroy is the same screenwriter who wrote the "Bourne Identity" movies. This movie is definitely worth your time.