We rented Michael Clayton the week before we left on vacation. This movie is a little tough to categorize; it’s somewhere between “drama” and “thriller”. If you’re looking for a lot of action, this movie probably isn’t for you. There’s only one explosion, little or no fighting and no big car chase scenes. On the other hand, it’s not exactly courtroom drama, either. If you tend to believe that there is a seamy, grungy underbelly to corporate law, you’ll love this flick.
The title character, played by George Clooney, is a thoroughly detestable attorney gone wrong. He’s the firm’s “fixer”, the guy who will hush people up and make problems go way by threatening, bribing, blackmail or whatever means possible. All of this doesn’t mean he’s highly regarded or compensated by the firm, of course — he’s a necessary evil. Along the way we get the impression that he’s not happy with his lot. He gets distinctly less happy as it becomes apparent that his close friend has been the victim of someone even less principled than himself. Eventually he becomes aware that someone has decide he’s too much of a liability, and has decided to take action. What he doesn’t know is who it is that wants him out of the way. The tension builds throughout the movie without resorting to beating the viewer over the head with on-screen violence. This isn’t to say that there is no violence, it’s just not the war- or gang-movie variety.
All in all, I liked the movie. It doesn’t get overly preachy about the evils of Big Corporate America, nor does it paint all lawyers as evil. It doesn’t strain credibility too much. While not an “action” movie per se, it doesn’t drag badly anywhere. All in all, I give it a solid 3 on a 1-5 scale.