*** out of five
Written and directed by Tony Gilroy
Starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, and Tilda Swinton
Is Michael Clayton an interesting look at corporate corruption? Yes. Do I recommend it? No.
Ultimately, the film's pacing kills it. I can't imagine how hard it must be to keep viewers' attention for two hours straight with a story about a lawyer, Clayton, played by Clooney, who has to choose between defending his client, said corrupt corporation U/North, whose weed killer also killed people, or following his conscience and sabotaging the case. See, I already lost you.
Granted, the films has some pros that nearly make up for the cons. The acting is great. The movie had a $25 million budget, but I'm guessing most of that went towards getting George Clooney. A wise investment. Tilda Swinton is U/North director Karen Crowder, and her fake American accent rivals Hugh Laurie's. You'll forget she's Scottish, let alone that she was in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
The true star of the movie is Tom Wilkinson. The movie should have been called Arthur Edens, because Wilkinson's character is much more interesting than Clooney's. After all, Arthur's the guy who's been defending U/North for eight years, but has a nervous breakdown, and sabotages his own case.
Michael Clayton has its moments, but I can't say it's worth your eight dollars. The film's terrible pacing and bland title character make the two hour running time seem much longer. Go see something else. Elizabeth? Eh, wait for the DVD. Yeah, nothing to go see in the theater at the moment. Yeah, I hate fall too.