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Michael Clayton 
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Post Michael Clayton
I don't think I have ever been more surprised by a movie than I was with Michael Clayton. Not that I expected it to be bad, but I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. Not only do I think it's great, it has quickly become one of my favorite movies. It's detailed, moody, and I just love the atmosphere that Tony Gilroy created. Anyone else feel the same?


Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:45 am
Post Re: Michael Clayton
Not quite as enthusiastic, maybe, but definitely surprised. The last shot of the movie has stayed with me for the last 18 months or so.


Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:53 am
Post Re: Michael Clayton
The first time I saw it, frankly, I didn't care for it. After a few viewings, however, I became hpynotized. The film is a beautifully elegant (and very blue) meditation of both morals and the issue of identity, both in terms of Michael's struggles and the ambiguous state of Arthur's mind. The speech Michael gives to his son in the car about his 'uncle' is intensely moving, and George Clooney sell every last letter of it.


I think I may very well go and watch it right now. Thanks, sevsoc :P


Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:17 am
Post Re: Michael Clayton
I really liked this movie, one of my favorites last year, but did anyone else notice a strong similarity between this and Network? Maybe that's why I liked this movie so much...


Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:25 am
Post Re: Michael Clayton
El Duderino wrote:
I really liked this movie, one of my favorites last year, but did anyone else notice a strong similarity between this and Network? Maybe that's why I liked this movie so much...


Man working as part of a corrupt, morally bankrupt system sees the light and rails against the machinations of those in power, yet to a certain extent remains under their thumb. I think that describes both movies fairly well.

I love this movie. One of my absolute favorites. Incredibly well written, amazingly acted, terrifyingly plausible (for a thriller). Tilda Swintom may have the best overall performance, but the scene with George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, and the bread is so well acted I was sad it wasn't a little longer.

Somehow the first time I saw it I knew Michael Clayton was going to say what he eventually said in the final scene, but on rewatching the movie a few times I realized how much ambiguity was left even during that scene. I think my first time through I just wanted Michael Clayton to
[Reveal] Spoiler:
become the righteous destroyer of Tilda Swinton
so much that I missed the nuances of character that are weaved in so well.

Also, "we're good" is one of my all-time favorite moments in any movie. That scene alone is so terrifying in its plausibility that it makes the rest of the thriller elements of the movie that much more real and frightening.


Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:09 am
Post Re: Michael Clayton
sevsoc wrote:
I don't think I have ever been more surprised by a movie than I was with Michael Clayton. Not that I expected it to be bad, but I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. Not only do I think it's great, it has quickly become one of my favorite movies. It's detailed, moody, and I just love the atmosphere that Tony Gilroy created. Anyone else feel the same?


x2

I was surprised how much I liked it. In terms of Oscars, it was my 3rd favourite Best Picture nominee of last year (I preferred both No Country and There Will be Blood). That was a strong year though...I like Michael Clayton more than any of this years nominees.

9/10


Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:22 am
Post Re: Michael Clayton
I just picked this movie up last weekend and plan to watch it this weekend. Looking forward to it.


Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:03 pm
Post Re: Michael Clayton
Bones wrote:
El Duderino wrote:
I really liked this movie, one of my favorites last year, but did anyone else notice a strong similarity between this and Network? Maybe that's why I liked this movie so much...


Man working as part of a corrupt, morally bankrupt system sees the light and rails against the machinations of those in power, yet to a certain extent remains under their thumb. I think that describes both movies fairly well.


Yeah I think that's one way of looking at it, but I've always related Tom Wilkinson's character to Howard Beale more than George Clooney's if that's what you were getting at. Both Arthur Edens and Howard Beale went "insane", denounced the ruthless system they were a part of (even the corporation names are similar: UNorth=UBS), and
[Reveal] Spoiler:
ultimately both end up getting assassinated by their respective system.
These two movies use these men similarly, as the older men who border on insanity are usually the most insightful truth-tellers. Both have found a sort of calmness in their lives, talk of the world as a "beautiful and radiant place", and they disappear for a little bit from the men that are looking for them.

The men that are looking for them are Michael Clayton and Max Schumacher. These guys are the emotional hearts of both films, and they're long-time friends of the men who go insane. Their jobs depend on getting Howard Beale and Arthur Edens under control, and ultimately they grow cynical of their employers and look for a way out. They're more concerned over the health of their mentally-ill friends than the powers exploiting them (William Holden's character moreso - Michael Clayton arguably sells out Arthur), and they have power struggles with the female executives in charge. In this case, Tilda Swinton and Faye Dunaway play almost the same character. Both are power-hungry women who have a chip on their shoulder to show that they can hang with the boys. They resort to anything, even violence, if it means better business. Michael Clayton and Max Schumacher eventually expose them for the people that they are: Clayton tricks Tilda Swinton into confessing, while Schumacher breaks up with Faye Dunaway and labels her as emotionally hollow.

So I guess my point is that the three main leads are pretty much the same between the two movies, and even the plot follows a similar arc. I love Michael Clayton, probably my 2nd favorite movie last year, but I thought at the very least it'd be labeled as an homage to Network. But then again maybe I'm reading too much into it, as I tend to do.


Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:00 pm
Post Re: Michael Clayton
El Duderino wrote:
Yeah I think that's one way of looking at it, but I've always related Tom Wilkinson's character to Howard Beale more than George Clooney's if that's what you were getting at.


I think you're absolutely right. You draw the comparisons very well. Makes Michael Clayton seem to play very well as a Network for the legal community. I don't know that I ever thought about the comparison till you brought it up, though you're right that it's right there on the face of the movie. Very interesting.


Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:32 pm
Post Re: Michael Clayton
Well, I finally watched the movie last night and enjoyed it thoroughly. i don't think I've ever seen Clooney in better form (with the exception of From Dusk 'til Dawn, but that was a completely different kind of performance).

This scene,
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The methodical hit on Arthur (Wilkinson)

actually unnerved me to the point of being frightened.


Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:34 am
Post Re: Michael Clayton
A very good movie, but not a great one as some people are proclaiming it to be.


Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:45 pm
Post Re: Michael Clayton
TheOutlawXanadu wrote:
A very good movie, but not a great one as some people are proclaiming it to be.


That's an interesting comment, because I'd say this board is the only place I've seen proclaiming it to be this way. (Except the Academy, but still.) All of my friends and colleagues who've seen were not impressed by it at all. I'd rant about it to people and they look at me like I'm crazy. XD


Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:29 am
Post Re: Michael Clayton
Pedro wrote:
TheOutlawXanadu wrote:
A very good movie, but not a great one as some people are proclaiming it to be.


That's an interesting comment, because I'd say this board is the only place I've seen proclaiming it to be this way. (Except the Academy, but still.) All of my friends and colleagues who've seen were not impressed by it at all. I'd rant about it to people and they look at me like I'm crazy. XD


You colleagues are numpties! ;) This is one of the best thrillers for ages.


Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:19 am
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Post Re: Michael Clayton
El Duderino wrote:
I really liked this movie, one of my favorites last year, but did anyone else notice a strong similarity between this and Network? Maybe that's why I liked this movie so much...


I felt that too. I loved Network, but this one not so much.

I don't think that I've captured all of its complexities yet, but overall it seemed kind of boring. And it takes a lot to make me say that about a movie. Not even The Reader or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button made me bored.

It was like reading James Joyce. You are indifferent to it at first because it offers little to the reader, but once you pick out the underlying meaning, it grows on you.

I just read Dubliners, so I know about boredom.


Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:23 am
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