Saturday, December 27, 2008

movie review: michael clayton

I've had Michael Clayton sitting around from Netflix for an embarrassingly long time. It's one of those movies I really wanted to see, but I was never in the mood to see. I'm so glad I finally took the plunge.

The film is deliciously dense. It's so clearly a film written to be a film; it treasures the visual medium. Dialogue is often minimal, and the viewer is forced to pay attention. The story is told in the details, and I thought I was missing things at first. It's subtle and seems subdued until the last ten minutes, when all the details and images come together seamlessly. It's a film that gets better the more you think about it; one further realizes how intentional every frame is.

I've enjoyed many of Tony Gilroy's films, but I may have to actually see The Cutting Edge now. I'm quite curious about the one film that doesn't fit with the rest of his resume.

Overall, I think it was better than No Country for Old Men, which won the Best Picture Oscar. They're certainly both great movies, but at the end of the day, Michael Clayton felt more complete. I'm incredibly partial to movies written to be movies rather than those adapted from books. They're different means of storytelling, and they're not always as compatible as producers seems to think.

George Clooney was good. Tilda Swinton was good. Tom Wilkinson was amazing. Sydney Pollock was great.

Rent it when you're in the mood for an intellectual thriller.

Rating: 3 stars (loved it)

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