Michael Clayton

119 minutes 2007

George Clooney is the title character, a consummate fixer for a high-powered Manhattan law firm who's so sick of doing the company's dirty work he seems ready to bite off his own tongue. When one of the rainmaking attorneys (Tom Wilkinson) goes nuts, endangering the firm's defense of an agrochemical giant against a class-action suit, Clayton is dispatched to silence him. Like The Verdict, this is a big, crowd-pleasing Hollywood redemption drama in which the lonely hero not only thwarts the corporate villains in the end but silences them with a killer riposte. The plot elements are painfully familiar, but the story is just solid enough to support the entertaining star turns: Clooney is lined and wearily handsome; Wilkinson rants like King Lear; Tilda Swinton, as a corrupt counsel, is alternately ruthless and terrified; and Sydney Pollack, as the firm's head honcho, could make genocide seem reasonable. This doesn't begin to deserve its Oscar nomination, but I had a good time with it nonetheless. Tony Gilroy directed his own script. R, 120 min.

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Michael Clayton

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