February 15, 2008

Ode to George



I finally saw Michael Clayton at the $2 movie house near me. I was on the edge of my seat even though it was designed to be a dark, quiet film. George Clooney has come a long way from 'The Facts of Life', 'Roseanne' and I even recently saw him in an old ep of my beloved 'Golden Girls' (yup, I can't change the channel when reruns are on, even at 1 AM.) He has wisely shied away from romantic lead roles. I've even forgiven 'Batman and Robin'. He has wracked up an impressive list of smart, thought-provoking yet entertaining films. My faves? Three Kings; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Syriana, although this was a bit over my head; The Perfect Storm; Good Night and Good Luck. He is an actor with a conscience, using his celebrity to draw attention to the plight of the people of Darfur. If you watch his interviews, he is always funny, intelligent and self-deprecating.
Anyway, if you love legal thrillers, conspiracies and corporate shenanigans, Clayton is for you. The Bourne films' screenwriter and now Oscar-nominated Tony Gilroy wrote and directed this riveting film.
Mr. Clooney is Michael, a NY law firm's fixer. Broke, addicted to gambling, divorced, he's just trying to be a good dad to his extremely bright son. The firm's top litigator, Arthur (the always reliable Tom Wilkinson), has a meltdown after he stops taking his meds and his conscience gets the better of him. Clayton is summoned to do his "janitorial" duties and uncovers all sorts of dirty deeds. The hypnotic Tilda Swinton plays Karen, complete with shots of sweatstains, a flabby midsection as she practiced her speeches. Karen is chief counsel for an evil agrochemical company settling a multi-million dollar lawsuit. All got Academy Award nods.

Catch it on DVD 19 February before the Oscars. (photo from Amazon.)

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