Michael Clayton

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 344 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 344

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User Reviews

  1. Apr 2, 2012
    6
    I was pretty confused right off the back. It was over acted( like that is a surprise.) Still it wasn't that bad, but it wasn't very interesting. The ending picked up when everything began to connect.
  2. Jun 7, 2013
    6
    Lawyer Michael Clayton cleans up tricky legal problems for his companies wealthiest clients. After years on the job he’s had enough of, he’s middle-aged, divorced and realizes that his career is going nowhere but remains dependent on the company thanks to his gambling troubles and a failed attempt at opening a bar. When one of the companies partners goes AWOL after working on a case forLawyer Michael Clayton cleans up tricky legal problems for his companies wealthiest clients. After years on the job he’s had enough of, he’s middle-aged, divorced and realizes that his career is going nowhere but remains dependent on the company thanks to his gambling troubles and a failed attempt at opening a bar. When one of the companies partners goes AWOL after working on a case for six years Clayton is sent to get him back on the job but soon begins to unravel an uncomfortable truth about the case.

    The movie forgoes action for the most part, instead choosing to let the truth behind the case gradually unravel through glimpses at legal documents and out of context conversations that really require the viewer to concentrate. Each of the major characters comes across as well rounded with some good performance throughout but the movie is held together by George Clooney, who remains a terrific screen presence and his characters gradual development plays a huge part in the movies overall success.

    I have heard Michael Clayton described as a thriller, and that is perhaps the wrong word to use, but it is certainly an interesting movie and well worth investing two hours of your time.
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  3. GeorgeMovie
    Jan 22, 2008
    4
    Both my wife and I thought this was a ZZZZZZZZ. It was a SO WHAT movie. Based on the people in the audience. they didn't think much of this talky either. Maybe it's the Liberal George Cloony? Its a rental on a Nothings on Tv night.
  4. LindaL.
    Jan 27, 2008
    5
    Wow, considering the reviews & rankings this film got, I really was disappointed that it was not more suspenseful. Not one detail in it startled me, unnerved me or surprised me. Clooney looked and seemed exactly the same throughout. (For a brilliantly portrayed white-collar guy who's gradually consumed by the angst of a stressful situation, please see Russell Crowe in "The Insider.") Wow, considering the reviews & rankings this film got, I really was disappointed that it was not more suspenseful. Not one detail in it startled me, unnerved me or surprised me. Clooney looked and seemed exactly the same throughout. (For a brilliantly portrayed white-collar guy who's gradually consumed by the angst of a stressful situation, please see Russell Crowe in "The Insider.") Good acting by all, but the plot is less exciting than than a typical episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." I would guess that critics' and the Academy's love for Clooney must account for this film being judged so stupendously superior to others that are much more engrossing and suspenseful . . . "Eastern Promises" comes to mind (also with good acting, and a lot more actually happens). Expand
  5. SamuelG.
    Feb 24, 2008
    5
    All movies of this sort delight in loose ends, so I'll not dwell on those. Instead, something about the movie's paradoxes. A self-consciously slick Hollywood product that adopts all of the fetishizing gimmicks of the advertising used by the story's evil company? A paean to seeing the world clearly, to taking a fearless moral stand, that treats humans like cartoons and All movies of this sort delight in loose ends, so I'll not dwell on those. Instead, something about the movie's paradoxes. A self-consciously slick Hollywood product that adopts all of the fetishizing gimmicks of the advertising used by the story's evil company? A paean to seeing the world clearly, to taking a fearless moral stand, that treats humans like cartoons and suggests an equation between ethical status and real estate values? And yet again Tilda Swinton wins praise for impersonating a robot Expand
  6. XavierL.
    Feb 25, 2008
    4
    Reminds me of The Firm, but worse. Of course, because it's handsome George staring, and since he's determined to be recognized as an actor, this pseudo-artistic faux-70ies thriller is pleasing the critics, but not the discriminating viewer who enjoys a well-made movie, i.e. don't pretend to make one if your cliche's are...so cliche'! when it pretends to be one.
  7. d.michelle
    Mar 6, 2008
    5
    Entertaining with no basis in fact. Companies do bad things, but they are entitled to legal defense. Should the company have taken out a full page ad in WSJ announcing thier wrongdoing? Maybe they should settle with the people that were harmed? Oh wait... that happened. A GC that hires hitmen is about as plausible as one that uses her magic wand to curse opposing counsel.
  8. JamesF.
    Mar 12, 2008
    5
    Nothing special here. This story should have been a hour crime solving TV show. Overhyped, I was disappointed.
  9. AlecE.
    Mar 14, 2008
    5
    the acting is good but its just clooney playing himself, youve seen it before. the story is good but its nothing you havent seen before in a thousand michael crichton stories. old hat.
  10. D.Lebowski
    Mar 26, 2008
    5
    Hopefully people call this intellectual only because they had plenty of time while the movie was droning on to think about more interesting topics or daydream. The choices the characters have to make are ridiculous and seem contrived to serve the weakly themed plot. Acting and direction were good, could have used an editing floor renovation.
  11. JoshD.
    Mar 30, 2008
    4
    I really wanted to enjoy this movie but found it a little irritating... I know it is directed at a certain audience, and I also like to think I am in that audience but this movie just meandered along... George Clooney nearly looked like he didn't know what was going on as well !
  12. TonyB.
    Apr 2, 2008
    5
    Extremely well-acted but too slowly paced, it treads familiar ground; there is nothing new here. The three horses on the hill scene is pretentious and obvious, and the extended close-up of Clooney in the taxi at the end has "I'm the star" written all over it.
  13. JohnN.
    May 6, 2008
    5
    Very slow and predictable. Characters had the potential, but the plot was weak.
  14. KenG
    Nov 18, 2007
    5
    The acting is good, and I could see and appreciate the attempt to make a "grown-up" movie, but all that doesn't make up for a script that takes a long time to get started, too often drags, and has too many unecessary scenes, that add nothing to the film, bogg down the story's forward momentum, and would have been better left on the editing room's floor. Also Swinton's The acting is good, and I could see and appreciate the attempt to make a "grown-up" movie, but all that doesn't make up for a script that takes a long time to get started, too often drags, and has too many unecessary scenes, that add nothing to the film, bogg down the story's forward momentum, and would have been better left on the editing room's floor. Also Swinton's pivitol character was seriously underwritten. In short, the performances were clearly better than the script. And no, I don't need explosions, car chases, and a lot of action to enjoy a movie. Expand
  15. PaulaC.
    Feb 23, 2008
    6
    So So. Interesting portrayal by Tilda Swinton and I loved Tom Wilkinson. The scene with the horses was contrived and empty. George Clooney was good but not Oscar good.
  16. RichardG.
    Oct 6, 2007
    6
    Dull... Predictable... Disappointing... I was psyched to like this film but it turned out to be a pale imitation of the real thing. Sidney Lumet wannabe.
  17. DevonC.
    Oct 7, 2007
    4
    I watched the trailer on Youtube and I felt totally engaged and couldn't wait to watch it. But, George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sean Cullen, Michael O'Keefe, and Sydney Pollack took the risk of a huge downfall. A total disaster zone. This is definitely the wrong road for Tony Gilroy as a Director. Just continue writing films because you did an amazing job on The I watched the trailer on Youtube and I felt totally engaged and couldn't wait to watch it. But, George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sean Cullen, Michael O'Keefe, and Sydney Pollack took the risk of a huge downfall. A total disaster zone. This is definitely the wrong road for Tony Gilroy as a Director. Just continue writing films because you did an amazing job on The Bourne Ultimatum. Expand
  18. Will
    Oct 10, 2007
    5
    "Its such a perfect ending". Yeah if you like cliche endings to law firm movies. The first half was spectacular, the second lost steam (why make something intense if you already told the outcome in the beginning?) and the ending ruined the movie by making it something smaller than what it could of been. Tom Wilkinson gave a stellar performance, which deserves an oscar nomination at the "Its such a perfect ending". Yeah if you like cliche endings to law firm movies. The first half was spectacular, the second lost steam (why make something intense if you already told the outcome in the beginning?) and the ending ruined the movie by making it something smaller than what it could of been. Tom Wilkinson gave a stellar performance, which deserves an oscar nomination at the very least. The rest of the cast, not so much. Clooney feels better at playing at playing the part he always has by adding a little more depth to that character. He is George Clooney playing Michael Clayton, he isn't Michael Clayton. Tilda Swinton gave a slightly better performance, but was not given enough screen time to display a lot of her talent. Sydney Pollack was just used for just saying things that were relevant, only used as a plot device. The script, had great dialogue, however, I think the story and the arc could have been executed a lot better. Perhaps a not so predictable ending? The script was shaky to say the least. The score and was absolutely fantastic and so was the editing. To conclude, it had such potential to be great, but failed to execute in the last half. Collapse
  19. normdepalma
    Oct 11, 2007
    6
    inaccurate on almost every legal level and completely unsuspenseful---only positive points are a unique murder and clooney bringing gray hair in vogue---he is cary grant.
  20. CydneyB.
    Oct 13, 2007
    5
    Wished we'd waited for the DVD. Then we could have done other things while we watched at it. Moves too slowly and not very engaging. Clooney and rest of cast is wonderful, though. Just needed more "oomph".
  21. DWilly
    Oct 14, 2007
    5
    Like a well made shoehorn... who really cares? This movie holds the attention and might sucker the easily impressed, and Tilda Swinton is amazing, but it would take a presence far more dazzling unto itself in the lead than the bland Mr. Clooney to get this thing truly airborn. And, by the way, once and for all: nothing in Canada, not the cities or the actors, pass for cities and people in Like a well made shoehorn... who really cares? This movie holds the attention and might sucker the easily impressed, and Tilda Swinton is amazing, but it would take a presence far more dazzling unto itself in the lead than the bland Mr. Clooney to get this thing truly airborn. And, by the way, once and for all: nothing in Canada, not the cities or the actors, pass for cities and people in the US. They'd have a hard enough time passing for things Canadian. Expand
  22. AaronM
    Oct 15, 2007
    6
    This movie isn't as clever as it thinks it is! Good cast though, which is always a good icing on the cake for movies these days.
  23. MattS.
    Oct 16, 2007
    6
    This movie succeeded at keeping you in the dark, although I think it carried this out for too long and this compromised the characters and the talents of the actors. These characters just filled the roles necessary to have in the formulaic corporate crime drama that this film is. I didn't hear intelligent dialogue at all, did you? Wilkinson's character was not allowed to do much This movie succeeded at keeping you in the dark, although I think it carried this out for too long and this compromised the characters and the talents of the actors. These characters just filled the roles necessary to have in the formulaic corporate crime drama that this film is. I didn't hear intelligent dialogue at all, did you? Wilkinson's character was not allowed to do much more than rant and that is a shame because he is good. The best thing about the film was that all the characters were very morally ambiguous, (at least for a while) thus it was suspenseful. But i was only involved in the story to the extent that I wanted to see what was going to happen. Clayton should have bribed her and taken the money. Then the moral would have been that this isn't a just world we live in, which is true. Expand
  24. MirandaP.
    Oct 17, 2007
    5
    I know it's supposed to be this great movie, but I was pretty bored. Good performances, not much of a story.
  25. JosephA
    Oct 20, 2007
    5
    Overrated. Completely unfocused with no direction.
  26. Bill
    Oct 20, 2007
    6
    I'm a big Soderbergh/Clooney fan and so was looking forward to this one. While you're in the theater it's fun. But afterwards it feels like a bit of candy. The script is fundamentally ludicrous. It's based on Clayton's money troubles, lack of status as an equity partner in the firm, and on the premise that suddenly after doing this work for 10-15 years he realizes I'm a big Soderbergh/Clooney fan and so was looking forward to this one. While you're in the theater it's fun. But afterwards it feels like a bit of candy. The script is fundamentally ludicrous. It's based on Clayton's money troubles, lack of status as an equity partner in the firm, and on the premise that suddenly after doing this work for 10-15 years he realizes the firm may handle unsavory cases. Such a successful "fixer" such as Clayton would never be a desperate man on the verge of getting hung out to dry. He would be a full equity partner of this law firm; otherwise he could take his Rolodex and go elsewhere to the highest bidder. And, by the way, spill the beans on where the bodies are buried because his job is disposing of all the unsavory messes into which the firm gets itself. So the crux of the plot is ridiculous. However, the acting is fantastic. Tilda Swinton is marvelous as a cyborg chief corporate counsel completely divorced form humanity; Tom Wilkinson has a fun turn as a brilliant bi-polar litigator. And Clooney once again plays the cool, haunted man who realizes his best days are behind him and he has little to show for it. (A similar character as the one he played in "Out Of Sight.") Except that he holds all the cards in reality, contrary to what the script attempts to sell us. Ultimately this is an ephemeral confection of a film. Expand
  27. Battle
    Oct 23, 2007
    4
    Overrated... it tried to be way more complex than it end being. acting was good but I was left very unsatisfied at the end. flashback horse thing was extremely weak. anticlimactic... would not recommend even for a rental.
  28. ET.
    Oct 26, 2007
    6
    Over rated! A good DVD flick but not worth all the hype.
  29. JoelV
    Oct 28, 2007
    5
    Overrated, George Clooney didn't really impress me, good acting but wasn't able to capture the drama to my opinion.. the end not that good either.
  30. Liz
    Nov 1, 2007
    6
    I was expecting so much more from this film than it delivered., due to the many great reviews it received. I enjoyed Clooneys' performance. This film was O.K, but over hyped and over rated.
  31. Aug 27, 2010
    6
    I applaud the first-time director Tony Gilroy for tackling a corporate suspense thriller with such level-headed decidedness, but the obfuscated dialogue and screenplay dulls the experience, and I didn't find the main character, Michael Clayton, affecting enough to hold a vested interest in. However, to the movie's benefit, he cast is well-played, especially Tilda Swinton as the fragileI applaud the first-time director Tony Gilroy for tackling a corporate suspense thriller with such level-headed decidedness, but the obfuscated dialogue and screenplay dulls the experience, and I didn't find the main character, Michael Clayton, affecting enough to hold a vested interest in. However, to the movie's benefit, he cast is well-played, especially Tilda Swinton as the fragile corporate hound-dog. Expand
  32. Jan 26, 2011
    6
    Just an ok film. Nothing special. Not sure why it got an Academy nomination for best movie, I can understand the acting as it was great and even the direction was top notch but the story was just really mundane. Not that it was bad, just nothing original.
  33. Aug 26, 2011
    5
    The movie looked so promising, but it was all lost, I don't know where and I don't know why? The movie went in different directions, and left me without answers and with many questions. It was disconnected, and I don't understand why the little guy told Michael (George Clooney) the story from the book, and what about his uncle, and the story behind their relationship? The plot is reallyThe movie looked so promising, but it was all lost, I don't know where and I don't know why? The movie went in different directions, and left me without answers and with many questions. It was disconnected, and I don't understand why the little guy told Michael (George Clooney) the story from the book, and what about his uncle, and the story behind their relationship? The plot is really weak, and I don't know why the critics supported this movie. But, I was blown away with Tom Wilkinson's performance, he did a great job with Arthur. He gave the character a dimension. Clooney, on the other hand, acted himself, as usual. I believe that Clooney is the most boring actor I've ever seen. Expand
  34. Jan 8, 2016
    4
    George Clooney's "Michael Clayton" does not deliver; despite some solid acting from veteran actor George Clooney, the movie itself is a heap of muddled mess with some really complicated dialogue and story threads that lead nowhere. What exactly is the theme? Environment for the win?? Didn't really buy me off.
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 36
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 36
  3. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Clooney is as good as he has ever been.
  2. As with the Bourne films, Gilroy has a knack for creating strong characters and situations that resonate with tension. It may be formula, but the guy is a solid chemist as he crafts excellent set-ups and payoffs.
  3. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    70
    Features strong performances and a solid story, drawn from the familiar well of faceless corporations grinding ordinary people through their profit-making machinery. Yet Gilroy's fidelity to his script comes at the expense of the pacing.