Running Time: 119 minutes
Rated: Rated MA 15+ (strong coarse language, sexual references)
This is a drama for those who really enjoy the novels, say, of John Grisham. It deals with lawyers, fixers, corrupt companies, class actions and deceit concerning products that damage human life. It is also a drama about family and the complex elements all come together with justice being finally done. It was written and directed by Tony Gilroy who was responsible for the story of The Bourne Ultimatum. Like this thriller, Michael Clayton also shows a great deal about surveillance, industrial espionage and the technology for destruction.
Michael Clayton, played with less glamour by George Clooney, is a 45 year old part success but seeming whole loser in his life and profession. He is an expert fixer for a legal firm and has the skill to come in, assess a situation and go into action. However, when an associate (Tom Wilkinson) has a breakdown, he finds that he is unable to help him. Part of the breakdown concerns his six years of being devoted to demolishing a class action against a powerful chemical company (represented by a rather sinister Tilda Swinton).
The opening of the film leads to some immediate interest and suspense and then the screenplay moves back to four days earlier to build up again and move through the legal crises, the deal crises as well as to spend some time on Michael Clayton's personal problems and those of his son and his brothers.
The film is dark, serious and thought provoking in that Grisham kind of way (which is a compliment) and has a strong supporting cast including Sidney Pollack as the head of the legal firm.
Village Roadshow Out October 18
Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.