Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 272 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is an in-house "fixer" at one of the largest corporate law firms in New York. At the behest of the firm’s co-founder Marty Bach, Clayton, a former prosecutor from a family of cops, takes care of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen’s dirtiest work. Clayton cleans up clients’ messes, handling anything from hit-and-runs and damaging stories in the press to shoplifting wives and crooked politicians. Burned out and discontented in his job, Clayton is inextricably tied to the firm. At the agrochemical company U/North, the career of in-house chief counsel Karen Crowder rests on the settlement of the suit that Kenner, Bach & Ledeen is leading to a seemingly successful conclusion. When the firms top litigator, the brilliant Arthur Edens, has an apparent breakdown and tries to sabotage the entire case, Marty Back sends Michael Clayton to tackle this unprecedented disaster and in doing so, Clayton comes face to face with the reality of what he has become. (Warner Bros.) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 36
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 36
  3. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 100
    I don't know what vast significance Michael Clayton has (it involves deadly pollution but isn't a message movie). But I know it is just about perfect as an exercise in the genre.
  2. 90
    This loving throwback to the paranoid thrillers of the ’70s is a beauty.
  3. Michael Clayton is a here’s-how-it-happened drama, cleverly but not over-elaborately structured.
  4. Mr. Gilroy hasn’t reinvented the legal thriller here, but I doubt that was his intention; at its best and most ambitious, the film plays less like a variation on a Hollywood standard than a reappraisal. It’s a modest reappraisal, adult, sincere, intelligent, absorbing; it entertains without shame.
  5. 80
    Quite possibly Clooney’s best effort to date.
  6. Has a slow build and a strong payoff, but George Clooney is the element that holds it together.
  7. Without the steadfast intelligence of Clooney's performance, Michael Clayton wouldn't work half as well as it does.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 23 out of 155
  1. Oct 8, 2013
    10
    Many people have notions of what a 'fixer' may actually do, some see rubber gloves and cleaning up crime scenes, others may see smooth talking, good looking and suited up individuals who confidently go about their job as a sought after individual. But George Clooney plays a different sort of fixer, his character, Michael Clayton, is realistic in his approach to every part of his job, he isn't a miracle worker, nor does he make every problem disappear because at the end of the day, he simply cleans up the mess, but the bigger the mess, the more complex the clean-up. Clayton himself has problems of his own that he cannot sweep under the rug, while he may look the part, Clooney portrays a character who isn't everything he appears, he owes serious amounts of money to loan sharks after we discover his gambling habit, struggles with financing his life and desperately tries to repair his past mistakes but still creating new ones, all while taking on a big "mess". The law firm he works for is facing a crisis after one of its partners, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) has quite the mental breakdown in the midst of a massive court case which Arthur knows the company his firm is defending are guilty of their crimes, something Michael is desperately trying to amend. It's clear to see why we have the title named after our main character, it is focusing on the life a man leads who feels he has no purpose, a man who is taken for granted and then thrown to the side, something Clooney portrays through many forces and silent stares, while we also see how he tries to balance his life as a dad and a man with a job that he can't really explain to anyone, but he shares the screen with someone else who is confident in her job but masks her demons, lawyer for the big client, a client called UNorth being sued for illegal chemical dumping Karen Crowdor (Tilda Swinton), equally as cunning and potentially dangerous as Clayton. It's films like this where we look to the talent involved to realise they are the driving force of the film, the tension and chemistry they create while also taking from a sharp and smartly written piece from director and writer Tony Gilroy, who cleverly takes a sombre approach to have this business thriller being much more than it seems, there isn't realty an inspiring touch to leave you flabbergasted, but more about style and the performances, it focuses solely on the consequences of actions as we have many guilt-ridden characters with too much power on their hands. As mentioned, the performances are the standout moments of this film, Clooney proves his stability and grit while Swinton also shoes her worth as the sort of Yin to Clooney's Yang. It's a smart and complex film that stays intriguing thanks to its strong cast and compelling story. Expand
  2. miker.
    Oct 19, 2007
    10
    Best legal thriller in recent memory.
  3. Troll
    Dec 2, 2007
    9
    Excellent direction. Clooney in his best inrerpretation: Oscar candidate.
  4. AriK.
    Jan 31, 2008
    8
    Very cool and gratifying film. An amazing cast too.
  5. ChrisManning
    Oct 15, 2007
    7
    would like to see more directorial work from Mr. Gilroy. This was a challenging but ultimately rewarding film.
  6. JamesF.
    Mar 12, 2008
    5
    Nothing special here. This story should have been a hour crime solving TV show. Overhyped, I was disappointed.
  7. JoyceC.
    Oct 8, 2007
    0
    Just dumb and unactive, it explains things in the best of ways that seems like they exxagerate. The situation is big, but the movie is not. The story is just the situation, and now it has a plot problem. Expand

See all 155 User Reviews

Trailers