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Michael Clayton

Michael Clayton

4.2 11
Director: Tony Gilroy

Cast: George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton


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Michael Clayton (George Clooney) handles all of the dirty work for a major New York law firm, arranging top-flight legal services and skirting through loopholes for ethically questionable clients. But when a fellow "fixer" decides to turn on the very firm they were hired to clean up for, Clayton finds himself at the center of a


Michael Clayton (George Clooney) handles all of the dirty work for a major New York law firm, arranging top-flight legal services and skirting through loopholes for ethically questionable clients. But when a fellow "fixer" decides to turn on the very firm they were hired to clean up for, Clayton finds himself at the center of a conspiratorial maelstrom. Once an ambitious D.A., Clayton is now a shell of his former dynamic self, thanks to a divorce, an unfortunate business venture, and astronomical debt. Though he longs to leave the cutthroat, ethically dubious world of corporate law behind, Clayton's poor financial situation and devotion to firm head Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack) leave him little choice but to remain on the job and tough it out. Meanwhile, litigator Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton) finds her entire company's future hinging on the outcome of a multi-billion-dollar settlement overseen by Clayton's friend, star lawyer Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson). When Edens snaps and decides to blow the whistle on the questionable case, sabotaging the defense, Clayton must decide between his loyalty and his conscience.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Tony Gilroy's elegantly structured script for Michael Clayton offers a series of plot developments and character details that don't build so much as accumulate in the viewer's mind, until a thunderously entertaining final scene -- the kind of confrontation an old-time Hollywood mogul might call a "corker" -- pays them all off in a thrilling verbal face-off. As a first-time director, Gilroy maintains a steady, measured pace. His style serves his low-key but involving script, quietly adding layers to the characters while moving the plot along. The first-rate editing juggles timelines in the best possible way, allowing events to have a much different meaning when you see them a second time. George Clooney gives another first-rate performance as Clayton, a man who can keep his clients' lives in order, but not his own. We know, because he is so good at his job, that he will figure out how to get himself out of the seemingly impossible position he gets himself into when his closest friend, an older attorney at the firm, has a mental breakdown while defending a chemical company facing a multi-million-dollar class-action suit. As the friend, Tom Wilkinson gets to deliver all of the film's colorful monologues. Unafraid to recall Peter Finch's performance in Network, Wilkinson offers a realistic portrait of manic depression while also reveling in the florid theatricality of his character's expansive orations. He manages to be simultaneously over-the-top and realistic -- as well as sympathetic. Tilda Swinton, shot in a way that lets the audience know how Gilroy feels about corporate functionaries, makes for an original adversary -- her obsessively detail-oriented character is the one most in over her head. Sydney Pollack, a woefully underappreciated actor, not only hits every note he is asked to play, but gives the film even more credibility as an updated '70s paranoid thriller simply because of his presence. Midway into the film, Gilroy stages a murder that offers a grueling commentary on the cold-blooded efficiency of modern corporate life. The murder happens close-up. It is hands-on, bloodless, and mechanical, leaving the viewer with an unshakeable sense of unease. The act happens as simply and with as much understatement as everything else in the movie; Gilroy feels no need to punctuate his material with either ominous music or lingering shots of outraged faces. The director never indicates to his audience how horrible what we are seeing is, he takes it for granted that we have the humanity to be appropriately shocked. This is what Gilroy gets very right throughout the film -- he trusts his audience. He repays that trust with that grandly entertaining final scene, where he finally lets the audience release all of the emotions he has kept efficiently bottled up for two hours.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Additional scenes; Commentary by writer/director Tony Gilroy and editor John Gilroy

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
George Clooney Michael Clayton
Tom Wilkinson Arthur Edens
Tilda Swinton Karen Crowder
Sydney Pollack Marty Bach
Michael O'Keefe Barry Grissom
Robert Prescott Mr. Verne
Terry Serpico Mr. Iker
Merritt Wever Anna
Kevin Hagan Raymond Clayton
Austin Williams Henry Clayton
David Lansbury Timmy Clayton
Tom McCarthy Walter
Heidi Armbruster Anna's Sister
Jennifer Van Dyck Ivy
Frank Wood Gerald
Denis O'Hare Mr. Greer
Julie White Mrs. Greer
Jonathan Walker Del
Sharon Washington Pam
Cynthia Mace Wendy
Michael Countryman Evan
Ken Howard Don Jeffries
Amy Hargreaves interviewer
Susan Pellegrino Secretary
Rachael Black Maude
Matthew Detmer Todd
John Thompson Jail Guard
Bill Raymond Gabe Zabel
Brian Poteat Deposition Lawyer
Christopher Mann Lieutenant Elston
Edward Furs Milwaukee Captain
Katherine Waterston Third Year
John Gerard Franklin Corrections Officer
Alberto Vazquez Player #1
Brian Koppelman Player #2
Jason Strong First Year
Pun Bandhu Fourth Year
David Zayas Detective Dalberto
Danielle Skraastad Bridget Klein
Remy Auberjonois Fifth Year
Pamela Gray Cindy Bach
Andrew Sherman U/North
Richard Hecht Auctioneer
Julia Gibson Stephanie Clayton
Sean Cullen Gene Clayton
Susan Egbert Michelle
Wai Chan Chinese Dealer
Paul Oquist Caddy
Doug McGrath Jeff Gaffney
Gregory Dann Cop
Cathy Diane Tomlin Cop #2
Sam Gilroy Copy Kid
Maggie Siff Attorney #1
Sarah Nichols Barry's Assistant
Susan McBrien Jean
Jordan Lage Partner
Neal Huff First Associate
Paul Juhn Second Associate
Mike Scelza Poker Consultant
Blake Neely Conductor

Technical Credits
Tony Gilroy Director,Screenwriter
Steve Apicella Asst. Director
Michael Barosky Sound/Sound Designer
Clay Brown Art Director
Ellen Chenoweth Casting
Chris Barnes Stunts
George Clooney Executive Producer
Norman Douglass Stunts
Clay Duncan Sound/Sound Designer
Sarah Edwards Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Elswit Cinematographer
Jennifer Fox Producer
John Gilroy Editor
Christopher Goode Co-producer
Gene Harrison Stunts
Don J. Hewitt Stunts
James Holt Executive Producer
James Newton Howard Score Composer
Alex Kharlamov Sound/Sound Designer
Joanne Lamstein Stunts
John E. Mack Stunts
Alan Meyerson Sound Mixer
Michael Brooks Sound/Sound Designer
Anthony Minghella Executive Producer
Kerry Orent Producer
Sydney Pollack Producer
Brian Ross Musical Direction/Supervision
P. Scott Sakamoto Camera Operator
Steven Samuels Producer
Steven Soderbergh Executive Producer
Kevin Thompson Production Designer
Mel Wesson Sound/Sound Designer


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Michael Clayton 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was movie was good. It held my interest and I would want to see it again because of all the levels that are happening. I know I missed stuff. George Clooney makes the movie. They depth that he puts into this role reminds me of Carey Grant in North by Northwest. I think that George is the Mr. Grant of out time. There are just so many layers to this movie with the family and busisness, obligations and morality it is a movie that everyone should watch when they get a chance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was really good... but it was very confusing. Now, I am only 13, but my dad explained to me what was happening throughout the movie and I really like it. It all comes together in the end!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Again Clooney takes on a well written script and adds his PRESENCE to make the story come alive. But the horses are better actors than Swinton.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great cast, just short of my fave, "No Country for Old Men" for this years BEST OF the movies. See why George Clooney is mentioned by so many as one of the few great actors working right now. The story builds and pulls you in, until you realize what crime is being committed here. Buy it, rent it, you will want to find a quiet place and some popcorn, maybe a glass of wine and watch this movie work it's magic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great acting, great cast, stupendous script. Michael Clayton is destined to be a classic and is by far my favorite film to come out of 2007. The ending is worth the price of admission alone.
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