Michael Clayton

Just saw this at the local artsy cinema – I have no idea how long it’s been out round here (certainly not since October – I just love how they manage to delay their release dates all the time…).

So, I’ll just throw out a couple of thoughts.

The Good

The acting – certainly liked Clooney a lot. Tilda Swinton wasn’t bad either but if either of them deserved to win the Oscar, my choice would’ve been Clooney. Soundtrack – top notch. But then that’s to be expected from James Newton Howard. Loved what he did with Batman Begins as well as Blood Diamond. Story-wise – easier to understand than Syriana (which I definitely liked better than this one). Sure, they had to use the old “we’ll tell the ending first and then use that shitty “4 days earlier” trick” but I found it nowhere near as annoying as I usually do. Which says something for the movie. That’s about what I can come up with from the top of my head.

The Bad

Seriously – what did Tilda Swinton do? I know, she won “supporting role” so you can’t expect her to do all that much. Apart from questioning herself and her morality and what not while dramatically staring into a mirror – not really all that much she did. I understand that the left would love some successful executive questioning herself (and, by extension, the entire system of “capitalism” and everything that comes with it) and it is, after all, the left that makes the rules. As I was saying – not really bad but considering that Cate Blanchett was nominated…

The story – not all that bad but after Syriana and Good Night and Good Luck I expected better from Clooney. It’s on quite a high level but he’s shown that he can do even better. I guess it kind of came as a disappointment, having had high expectations and all.

The Ugly

The underlying – surprise – philosophy. It probably shines through most in that scene where Marty Bach (if I recall correctly) basically tells Clayton that they make all their money by screwing over people and being the bad guys. Sure, everyone hates lawyers but how shallow is that? Evil, evil corporation trying to fuck over the little guy. Even more evil lawyers with no moraliy whatsoever helping them. Fortunately, Clooney’s character finds something to believe in in the end and they all live happily ever after. I know, I’m exaggerating – but this is supposed to be the ugly.

Same thing can, of course, be said about Syriana – I’ve heard lefties argue “see how evil the U.S. is?” to which in the case of Syriana I simply answer: well, what did you expect? Syriana was much more even handed in my opinion. It gave better perspective on the issue at hand and rational people – or at least what I consider to be rational people – can see why the evil U.S. is acting the way it is. Cold, hard self-interest. It just presents the facts as they are and leaves it up to the audience to come to its own conclusions (at least that’s what I got from it). Michael Clayton on the other hand – it tries much harder to drive home its message. Compared to other films – no big deal. But alas, a disappointment.

A disappointment on a very high level though. If I had to rank it – probably about 7.5/10. Then again – I don’t really want to rank it.


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