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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review-Michael Clayton

Clayton (Clooney) waits for Arthur (Wilkinson) in the police station.  Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Clayton (Clooney) waits for Arthur (Wilkinson) in the police station. Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

By Sara Pintilie/entertainment editor

Michael Clayton (3 stars)

Clayton (Clooney) waits for Arthur (Wilkinson) in the police station.  Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Clayton (Clooney) waits for Arthur (Wilkinson) in the police station. Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Michael Clayton was major Oscar bait at this year’s Academy Awards. It grabbed six nominations and one win for Tilda Swinton for Best Supporting Actress.

That being said, I am slightly confused by the film’s acclaim.

The legal thriller is a dark, twisted tale about a law firm’s “fixer,” Michael Clayton (George Clooney).

When his colleague, Arthur (Tom Wilkinson), sabotages a major case with U/North, Clayton comes across a secret, which would jeopardize U/North and Clayton’s law firm.

He debates what to do with this privileged knowledge and tries to determine whether Arthur, who is mentally unstable, is telling the truth or if the secret is just a fabrication of his delusion.

Karen (Swinton) is the lawyer on U/North’s side. Her job is hanging on the outcome of the lawsuit, and she is trying to tie up all the loose ends.

On the surface, Michael Clayton looks like a slick thriller worthy of an Oscar. But upon closer examination, it is a character-driven story without an appropriate climax.

The audience doesn’t get invested in the characters even though they were well-written and well-acted.

And as the story progresses, viewers wait for a big explosive bang of an ending, but all they get is a whimper—an entertaining whimper but still a disappointment.

Swinton was the best part of the film. She brought a vulnerability to her icy character and commanded the scenes away from Clooney, but I am still unsure why she won the Oscar over Cate Blanchett or Amy Ryan.

Clooney is good as Clayton, but he seems to be resting on his natural talents than bringing anything more to the film.

The potential is there, and the critical acclaim garnered for Michael Clayton can be justified, I guess, but the viewers have to be really in the mood to watch this type of film to see all of its cinematic goodness.

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