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Michael Clayton: Even Clooney Can't Revive Something So Sleepy

Michael Clayton: Even Clooney Can't Revive Something So Sleepy

George Clooney is an incredibly handsome man. He's a capable actor and has an endearing way about him onscreen. As a general rule, I love watching him and will seek him out in pretty much any capacity. Additionally, director Tony Gilroy is responsible for writing such successful suspense movies as the Bourne trilogy. So why did I nearly doze off during Michael Clayton?

Clooney does his charming, disarming best in this role, but I'm not convinced it's a great role. Gilroy wants badly for the audience to care about the titular character, but doesn't give us any reason to do so. Same goes for the plot in general. You can gather together the greatest actors around, but if we're given no way to connect to either the story or the characters, we viewers will find ourselves, well, falling asleep. To see what I mean,

Michael Clayton is a legal "janitor," someone who cleans up the evil messes of a law firm's morally questionable clients. He's a dad, a reformed gambling addict, and someone with some major money troubles. The mess he's currently cleaning up has to do with a shady "agrochemical manufacturer" company U/North that has done some kind of bad thing that is never really explained. So, there are allusions to the stakes being high, but no clear explanation for why they are that high. There are just some people (headed up by Tilda Swinton's nervous character) who will apparently stop at nothing to hide the company's wrongdoings (which, again, we don't really know anything about).

Clayton's colleague on the U/North case, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson, who turns in a wonderful performance), has finally lost it — he stopped taking his meds and, after years of defending morally corrupt clients, grew a raging conscience. Clayton mildly tries to help his poor, crazy colleague while also dealing with such personal struggles as a surly son he doesn't listen to very well and trying to pay his substantial debts. Clooney is so beautiful and much of what he does in this film is subtle and understated, so kudos to him for that. Yet when a "suspenseful" drama puts people to sleep, I wish the filmmakers would have opted for not so much understatement. If only the coolest and savviest of moviegoers are able to stay awake through this film, then count me among the dumb, drooling masses.

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.

Join The Conversation
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
I just saw this in the theater today, and I actually did doze off for a few minutes.
nancita nancita 9 years
I was actually really impressed with this movie. I was absolutely riveted and found the plot pacing and cinematography totally innovative. I also loved how it was a courtroom drama that wasn't about the legal plot at all but about the people embroiled in it. It's so sinister because of that.
Nitachequita Nitachequita 9 years
I almost dozed off too. It was a whole lot of exposition for an overly simplistic plot
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
I will wait for it at Blockbuster as well!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
I'm still looking forward to seeing this one, but probably as a rental. Thanks for the heads up, Buzz!
tchan01 tchan01 9 years
I disagree w/u Buzz. I think it definitely deserves more than 2 1/2 stars. Although it's not an edge of your seat kinda movie, it definitely does what it needs to do, and I love how his more thoughtful roles...well gets you thinking.
figurine figurine 9 years
Well, well. It usually takes a while for me to check out Clooney's more serious films, but I find that they are always worthwhile.
gruaig_rua gruaig_rua 9 years
Oh no! I was really looking forward to seeing this.
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
too bad
MamaD MamaD 9 years
Oh no!!!!!! I can't believe I have to wait until Friday to find out for myself!!!!! When you live in the sticks you have to wait for a movie to open wide!!!
watts watts 9 years
I saw this last night, and expected much more, because it had great reviews from critics. I thought Clooney and Wilkinson stole the show. However, I wish there was just more...more of something.
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