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7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 297 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 297
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  1. ArthurC.
    Nov 7, 2007
    9
    Nearly perfect. This is the best written movie of the year. Tense, smart, and all the things you want from a legal thriller. The final face off that Clooney has is pure brilliance. He deserves an Oscar nom if not the win.
  2. jw
    Nov 9, 2007
    10
    What a great movie. Or should I say: What? A great movie?? If Wilkinson doesn't get an Oscar for support, I'll eat my shoe. All of it. And I walk through nasty stuff. Scenes between him and Clooney are high-end. The words are fantastic. Informed but not sermonic, huge but not bombastic (save where bombast is called for). Come to think of it, Clooney getting an Oscar would not be What a great movie. Or should I say: What? A great movie?? If Wilkinson doesn't get an Oscar for support, I'll eat my shoe. All of it. And I walk through nasty stuff. Scenes between him and Clooney are high-end. The words are fantastic. Informed but not sermonic, huge but not bombastic (save where bombast is called for). Come to think of it, Clooney getting an Oscar would not be uncalled for, though that will probably go to Tommy Lee Jones. Tilda Swinton continues to show up in movies I like (SEE: Thumbsucker, Broken Flowers). Expand
  3. Jan 6, 2012
    9
    A seriously enthralling movie. I'm a fan of thrillers, but I usually just start up a movie on netflix and then let the movie give me a reason to watch it. By the end of this movie, I was squatting in front of the tv, my heart racing. Loved it.
  4. Apr 13, 2012
    7
    Very solid performances by the cast. The flaw of this though is that it's a little confusing at times and it never really peaks until the end of the film (around the last 20 minutes of the film). Its still a good movie though, I enjoyed watching it.
  5. Dec 21, 2012
    8
    Even with only a couple spots of true action, this film's characters and plot are engaging enough to sell the whole package. It is a bit slow, but it proves to be worthy.
  6. Jan 19, 2013
    10
    i always wondered one thing when watching those b-movies that feature a lot of people getting sick because of evil companies with lots of money and the hero suing the company and winning because of his/her good heart: the side of the bad guys. because those movies tend to leave all the arguments of the bad guys at: they just want te make more money. here's something interesting: this moviei always wondered one thing when watching those b-movies that feature a lot of people getting sick because of evil companies with lots of money and the hero suing the company and winning because of his/her good heart: the side of the bad guys. because those movies tend to leave all the arguments of the bad guys at: they just want te make more money. here's something interesting: this movie plays from the viewpoint of the bad guys, and you know what? this one actually became a complicated character piece with lots of intrigue and businessmen in suits. and, my favourite, the good guys do not win in the end because they get lucky or because they love everybody so much. no, they do it the old fashioned way: by being smarter than the opposition. Expand
  7. Jan 21, 2013
    8
    A complicated but good and exciting thriller. The best movie of 2007. Again Robert Ludlum blow my mind like he did by the Jason Bourne movies (Robert Ludlum is the writer of the Jason Bourne movies and this movie). I like the cast and the story. Nice movie.
  8. Apr 1, 2013
    9
    This movie relies on a perfect complicated-yet-understandable story and the type of acting that is completely grounded in reality. You don't see Clooney have wild ups and downs because his character wouldn't have them. Same with all other actors including the hit men. Just pros. No yelling or screaming. Scarily, this is probably how pro hitmen work. They don't act or look different. AndThis movie relies on a perfect complicated-yet-understandable story and the type of acting that is completely grounded in reality. You don't see Clooney have wild ups and downs because his character wouldn't have them. Same with all other actors including the hit men. Just pros. No yelling or screaming. Scarily, this is probably how pro hitmen work. They don't act or look different. And Wilkenson plays a man in the mists of a manic episode perfrectly. His is the only character that acts in extremes, but believe me, it's very realistic. Expand
  9. May 26, 2013
    8
    Very, very, very slow and hard to follow at first. But, Michael Clayton is a very good thriller. A unique thing about this film, isn't the plot, but the way it appeals as a thriller. With the minimal use of a score and action, it's thrills are driven by the acting. So many other thrillers depend on intense music and fighting, but this film depends solely upon it's brilliant cast. GeorgeVery, very, very slow and hard to follow at first. But, Michael Clayton is a very good thriller. A unique thing about this film, isn't the plot, but the way it appeals as a thriller. With the minimal use of a score and action, it's thrills are driven by the acting. So many other thrillers depend on intense music and fighting, but this film depends solely upon it's brilliant cast. George Clooney, Tom Atkinson, and Tilda Swinton are fantastic in this film. Definitely worth a watch. I promise that after the slow first hour, it gets very good and intense. Expand
  10. 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, heMany 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
  11. Dec 20, 2013
    8
    A very atmospheric and exceptionally well written drama that doubles as a thriller, Michael Clayton will grip any intelligent moviegoer until the end. The plot delves into corporation conspiracies, murder, and deceit galore, and it's all played out brilliantly. The cast is great and the direction is precise, but I couldn't help but feel that something was missing. I previously gave thisA very atmospheric and exceptionally well written drama that doubles as a thriller, Michael Clayton will grip any intelligent moviegoer until the end. The plot delves into corporation conspiracies, murder, and deceit galore, and it's all played out brilliantly. The cast is great and the direction is precise, but I couldn't help but feel that something was missing. I previously gave this movie a 9, but as time went on I began to realize that it's actually somewhat limited. It works almost perfectly when you're watching it, but it doesn't really linger on the mind when it's over. It also could have been more kinetic. I'm not saying that I wanted full on shoot outs, but a couple of fights should have been thrown in for good measure. Complaints aside, it's still very, very good. Forgot to mention how beautifully shot the film, but you'll see that for yourself. Expand
  12. AnneA.
    Feb 26, 2008
    10
    2/26 Just saw. Absolutely fabulous!!! Best movie we've seen in years should of won more oscars!!!
  13. DanB.
    Nov 3, 2007
    9
    Clooney for President.
  14. RJM.
    Nov 9, 2007
    7
    Entertaining at least. not a great film though. starts off strong and gradually loses its edge. had lots of potential. But very entertaining.
  15. BasilL.
    Nov 10, 2007
    9
    Overall a good movie with a good ending but at times can be slow.
  16. GrantW
    Nov 11, 2007
    9
    I went to this movie with absolutely no idea of what I was going to see, and I left absolutely floored by how great of a film this was. Thrilling, subtle, entertaining, and I loved that ending.
  17. TonyTony
    Nov 12, 2007
    10
    Awesome. Nobody left their seats until half way through the credits. They just let the rich tone of the finish savor for a while. Casting and performance was dead on perfect from Clooney, Swinton, Pollack and Wilkinson. Oscars for sure.
  18. MichaelM.
    Nov 26, 2007
    9
    A solid film in which all characters, good/bad/other are flawed - just like in real life. The "reveals" and character development are subtle. You don't need to be hit over the head to figure out why Clayton is divorced and how good/bad a father he is, but it's all there for you to consume without an abundance of dialog or setup. Clooney gives us a character trying to separate A solid film in which all characters, good/bad/other are flawed - just like in real life. The "reveals" and character development are subtle. You don't need to be hit over the head to figure out why Clayton is divorced and how good/bad a father he is, but it's all there for you to consume without an abundance of dialog or setup. Clooney gives us a character trying to separate what is right from what is reality as he attempts to find the grey area in between which will enable him to live with himself. Expand
  19. Troll
    Dec 2, 2007
    9
    Excellent direction. Clooney in his best inrerpretation: Oscar candidate.
  20. DanaM.
    Dec 2, 2007
    9
    Excellent thriller. Worth the entrance fee to see this well-made film. Great acting by all.
  21. HovsepM.n
    Dec 7, 2007
    9
    Great acting, great story telling. Sometimes the plot becomes slightly complicated , but it is fascinating to see how the actors maintain the tempo throughout the two hour movie.
  22. TimothyDungan-Levant
    Dec 8, 2007
    9
    A solid, gripping genre piece -- not perfect, but very good, with a superb, low-key performance by Clooney at its center that gives it heft it might not otherwise have had.
  23. jerlr
    Dec 28, 2007
    10
    One of the best films I've seen. Supberb writing and acting and great suspense. Clooney who is usually in macho roles does a wonderful nuanced performance of a man coming to grips with life
  24. ClayK.
    Jan 1, 2008
    9
    I agree that this is a thriller. The ending was not a let-down, and I felt that this is a sure pick for a Best Picture nomination. To me, it doesn't feel like a Best Picture winner, but a sure nominee.
  25. GeorgeC.
    Jan 16, 2008
    9
    People who don't like this movie are idiots.
  26. MarcusA.
    Jan 22, 2008
    10
    Oh my god, definitely one of the top 3 this year. No one is better than Clooney when he is at his best. If you don't like this movie it's probably because your too dumb to understand it.
  27. BH
    Jan 26, 2008
    7
    Definitely the performances were better than the script. I didn't feel the tension or the drama. Not enough development on the characters and thus I didn't care for them nor was there any character arcs.
  28. EricL.
    Jan 28, 2008
    8
    Decent movie. Tom Wilkinson was amazing in this movie and so was George Cloony.
  29. JeffB.
    Jan 28, 2008
    9
    This was an intelligent, suspenseful, and intricate corporate thriller which was bolstered by some electric performances. All three actors who were nominated for Oscars were deserving, and the tension built as the pieces slowly started coming together. This was a very entertaining movie, and one of Clooney's best performances ever.
  30. ChadS.
    Jan 29, 2008
    9
    "Am I clean?" Those are the ironic words of a "company man" who just planted a bomb in another company man's car. The real hero of "Michael Clayton" isn't the George Clooney character, or Arthur Edens(Tom Wilkinson); it's Michael's 9-year-old son Henry, who is clean; who is good. That's why Michael gets out of the car for a closer look at the horses. Overwhelmed "Am I clean?" Those are the ironic words of a "company man" who just planted a bomb in another company man's car. The real hero of "Michael Clayton" isn't the George Clooney character, or Arthur Edens(Tom Wilkinson); it's Michael's 9-year-old son Henry, who is clean; who is good. That's why Michael gets out of the car for a closer look at the horses. Overwhelmed by a wave of love for his son, this morally-compromised man realizes that being a father redeems his bad business decisions, and disappointing career in the law firm. As Michael gets up close and personal with the band of equine faces, he regrets his patronizing attitude towards Henry's enthusiasm about a book; a book that Arthur appropriates for the cover page of a report which will lead to his salvation; the same book that Michael ignores. "Am I a good movie," asks "Michael Clayton". Yes, perhaps, even a great one. (As a side note: Is this writer/director a Scientologist? Yes, Arthur's awakening is primarily motivated by his penis, but the once complicit lawyer also goes off his meds. Without the psychotropic drugs, Arthur is an improved man. Can you imagine the controversy "Michael Clayton" would court from the media if Tom Cruise played the titular former prosecutor?) Expand
  31. AriK.
    Jan 31, 2008
    8
    Very cool and gratifying film. An amazing cast too.
  32. KG
    Feb 11, 2008
    8
    Sydney Pollack did a good job as the head lawyer. No one in the packed theater dared move at the end until we saw all of the credits. Nice trick. I didn't get the horses.
  33. MichaelE.
    Feb 12, 2008
    7
    No classic, but if every Hollywood movie turned out like this (and they all should), then I would be a much happier man. I absolutely have a crush on Tilda Swinton.
  34. JudyT
    Feb 12, 2008
    8
    Good but nothing new or original and definitely not an Oscar contender for movie or performance by George Clooney. If anyone should have been considered it would be Tom Wilkinson as Arthur.
  35. JayH.
    Feb 13, 2008
    7
    Complex and intense thriller, excellent acting, especially by Tom Wilkinson. Nice pacing and tense. Well directed, great score and editing. A solid piece of filmmaking.
  36. Jack
    Feb 17, 2008
    10
    Oscar worthy. Not for the younger crowd.
  37. SM
    Feb 20, 2008
    10
    I have enjoyed this movie the most among the nominees of this year.
  38. JT
    Feb 24, 2008
    8
    On the whole this was an enjoyable movie. Not as earth shatteringly good as some people seem to say it was, but still a good movie. As some of the other comments make clear, you won't like it if you're a corporate tool who has been brainwashed to believe that corporate greed is good and that any critiques of capitalism are solely a product of some radical left wing cabal.
  39. PatE
    Feb 24, 2008
    10
    Intricate, subtle, tense--well-served by the score--not a single wrong note in the acting, the theme wonderfully summarized in the confrontation between Wilkinson's and Clooney's characters (o.k., maybe the loaves were a bit too much). Every single relationship between characters -- such as the brothers -- well defined without bombast...cinematography both clever and serving to Intricate, subtle, tense--well-served by the score--not a single wrong note in the acting, the theme wonderfully summarized in the confrontation between Wilkinson's and Clooney's characters (o.k., maybe the loaves were a bit too much). Every single relationship between characters -- such as the brothers -- well defined without bombast...cinematography both clever and serving to advance the story, with some truly wonderful shots. A complete package without a wrong note. My husband and I loved it. Expand
  40. KathleenK.
    Feb 24, 2008
    10
    Satisfying modern day noir; tightly composed script weaves complex personal stories together to build a tense layered thriller. Understated and darkly realistic acting by Clooney, Wilkinson, Tida Swinton score high praise. Worth re-viewing to fully enjoy how the script pulls all those loose ends together with such elegance.
  41. Alex
    Feb 24, 2008
    8
    Great character, and plot development. The ending was somewhat of letdown; somewhat predictable and very fast. Other than that it was a great film. Very intense and kept my attention throughout. Stuart, only a right wing moron would see this movie the way you did. It has NOTHING to do with politics, and EVERYTHING to do with inside corruption.
  42. davids.
    Feb 27, 2008
    8
    Stellar acting, an intelligent script and innovative direction distinguish this otherwise routine political thriller. Clooney and Gilroy are self-proclaimed devotees of 70s cinema - both the subject matter and the distorted framings and innovative juxtapositions are straight out of films like Network, Parallax View or Klute. One feels however that Clooney, good as he is, is straining a Stellar acting, an intelligent script and innovative direction distinguish this otherwise routine political thriller. Clooney and Gilroy are self-proclaimed devotees of 70s cinema - both the subject matter and the distorted framings and innovative juxtapositions are straight out of films like Network, Parallax View or Klute. One feels however that Clooney, good as he is, is straining a bit too hard to be heroic, or maybe the script is too reliant on grandstanding speeches. Still, Wilkinson and Swinton are good, too, as is Sydney Pollack. The opening of the film is a blistering start and propels us into the film. It is a cracking thriller, but perhaps a little pleased with itself at times, as in the final shot of Clooney in the taxi, which seems superfluous. It would be a better ploy to just watch him enter the taxi say drive and then film the taxi drive off in to the distance. There's one subtle 70s ploy the filmmakers missed. Expand
  43. LisaZ
    Feb 29, 2008
    8
    Kickass ending. I like Clooney now. He's pretty good for a big actor. I like the crazy guy too. And the horses were pretty.
  44. MichaelK.
    Mar 8, 2008
    9
    I must say, I was impressed by this movie and by the way this film was shot. This film attacked a very disturbing subject and brought it to the forefront very well. True, the topic it did attack is that to which so many people believe is not entirely entertaining, but it does have a time and place for its thought provoking nature. Contrary to so many of the reviews I have read about this I must say, I was impressed by this movie and by the way this film was shot. This film attacked a very disturbing subject and brought it to the forefront very well. True, the topic it did attack is that to which so many people believe is not entirely entertaining, but it does have a time and place for its thought provoking nature. Contrary to so many of the reviews I have read about this movie, reviews about how the world doesn't work this way or how things don't just happen like this, I want you to take a step back for a moment and look at things from the films point of view. I am not saying it does happen this way, but I wouldn't be entirely surprised if I were you and you actually got a chance to walk the paths that some actually do every day. Expand
  45. AdrianG.
    Mar 24, 2008
    9
    An intelligent, earthy, fiery and fluid drama - all the elements were there, all the cliches challenged, the world evoked believable, the characters intriguing, and beguiling. The three horses on the hill evoked a moral clarity beyond spoken words. Ultimately emotionally and intellectually satisfying, it cleverly questions how we can go on any other path than the truth. A wonderful An intelligent, earthy, fiery and fluid drama - all the elements were there, all the cliches challenged, the world evoked believable, the characters intriguing, and beguiling. The three horses on the hill evoked a moral clarity beyond spoken words. Ultimately emotionally and intellectually satisfying, it cleverly questions how we can go on any other path than the truth. A wonderful companion to 'The Constant Garden' Expand
  46. MattA.
    Mar 27, 2008
    9
    Great movie with superb acting. George Clooney really surprised me, and i found his portrayal of michael clayton to be authentic and refreshing. Tom Wilkinson portrayed Arthur with complexity and depth, like a true mad genious. The film was never very suspensful, however, could be taken very seriously as a corporate thriller with interesting concepts and a thick plot. I highly recommend Great movie with superb acting. George Clooney really surprised me, and i found his portrayal of michael clayton to be authentic and refreshing. Tom Wilkinson portrayed Arthur with complexity and depth, like a true mad genious. The film was never very suspensful, however, could be taken very seriously as a corporate thriller with interesting concepts and a thick plot. I highly recommend for those who love scandals, and who can easily comprehend these kinds of events. Expand
  47. CatS.
    Jun 18, 2008
    10
    Really fantastic. Suspenseful, and phenomenally acted. If you want a smart thriller that respects its audience, this is the one.
  48. BrandonS.
    Nov 1, 2008
    9
    Starts slow, but by the end is really captivating. Very suspenseful in the best possible way. Each half-hour of this 2-hour movie improves over the one that came before. I highly recommend this to fans of subtle characterizations, great acting, and intelligent writing and directing.
  49. Nathn
    Nov 28, 2008
    8
    I wouldnt call it an incredible, amazing, perfect movie, but i found it very interesting. took a while for the whole plot to start to come together, although that might also be because all my friends were talking the whole time. Its a very intelligent movie, and if you want a mindless movie to sit through, do not watch Clayton. you will be disappointed. however, if you like intelligent I wouldnt call it an incredible, amazing, perfect movie, but i found it very interesting. took a while for the whole plot to start to come together, although that might also be because all my friends were talking the whole time. Its a very intelligent movie, and if you want a mindless movie to sit through, do not watch Clayton. you will be disappointed. however, if you like intelligent movies that make you think, Clayton is a winner. a slightly slow movie, but well worth it. Expand
  50. BobN
    Jul 27, 2009
    10
    What matters to me in a film is the atmosphere, the tone, and how the characters and plot heighten or develop that tone. This film is simple. It is simply good. I love the tone of this film, the corporation lurking always in the background and the sense of dread. Simply put, one of the best films of the past 5 years.
  51. JoeH.
    Oct 7, 2009
    8
    Just a solid legal thriller with great performances. Only the dull and the lazy will have trouble grasping this plot; anyone else will be sucked right in.
  52. WinstonL.
    Dec 25, 2009
    10
    Sydney Pollack ALSO deserved an Oscar nod for ACTING!
  53. MarkT
    Jan 24, 2010
    9
    Allow me to recommend two things for all who were bored by "michael clayton:" Ritalin and membership in the Michael Bay Fan Club.
  54. JaredC.
    Oct 4, 2007
    8
    I Haven't seen Goerge Clooney any better.
  55. HDavidson
    Oct 5, 2007
    9
    This is a terrific, intelligent film.
  56. Marcelo
    Oct 7, 2007
    7
    Good movie. Needs more action.
  57. PatG.
    Oct 7, 2007
    9
    The thinking person's thriller. This is an excellent film with an intelligent, sharply honed script realized through very strong performances. Kudos all around!
  58. ArnoldP.
    Oct 7, 2007
    9
    Are we so dumbed out watching product that we can't appreciate such an intelligent, gripping, moral tale. It gets a nine because what piece of entertainment is flawless? Clooney clearly has the taste for meaty roles, and he is excellent together with Wilkinson who is brilliant and Swinton who soars. It sizzles with the tightest of scripts, smart layer of stories that keep you Are we so dumbed out watching product that we can't appreciate such an intelligent, gripping, moral tale. It gets a nine because what piece of entertainment is flawless? Clooney clearly has the taste for meaty roles, and he is excellent together with Wilkinson who is brilliant and Swinton who soars. It sizzles with the tightest of scripts, smart layer of stories that keep you engrossed every scene to the perfect end. In the time of Enron, Iraq, a debate over torture, and tainted meat this country is loosing it's moral ground this film is a mirror for our time. It deserves a 10! Expand
  59. Erak
    Oct 8, 2007
    8
    It's really just a run-of-the-mill thriller, but the performances are fantastic, particularly Tom Wilkinson. (Note to Jared C.--*possible mild spoiler alert* at what point in the movie is Wilkinson a bad guy?)
  60. Hollyc
    Oct 8, 2007
    9
    This movie is incredibly good. I had no idea what they were trying to sell this movie as, so I was a little unsure going in (i.e. I didn't have huge expectations, but wasn't expecting crap either). After the first 20 minutes you're left with a starting point, but mostly in the dark and hoping to god they (writer/director) pay it off in the end. And man, do they ever. It was This movie is incredibly good. I had no idea what they were trying to sell this movie as, so I was a little unsure going in (i.e. I didn't have huge expectations, but wasn't expecting crap either). After the first 20 minutes you're left with a starting point, but mostly in the dark and hoping to god they (writer/director) pay it off in the end. And man, do they ever. It was such a perfect ending. This is definitely something akin to say, The Firm, or even Syriana in a way though it's definitely not a "message-movie" nor is it the Bourne Ultimatium---However, it's a very intelligent, wonderfully written, directed and acted film. George Clooney gives a great performance. So far, I think Michael Clayton and 3:10 to Yuma are the best films I've seen this year. Go see this film. Expand
  61. MathewBainbridge
    Oct 12, 2007
    10
    Honest, satisfying, never panders down to the audience. Adult.
  62. MisaelS.
    Oct 13, 2007
    10
    Tony Gilroy's new conspiracy thriller is All the President's Men's kid brother, and very nearly as good. It's a no-bs, adult, smart, ingeniously stylized, masterpiece (yes, I said it, masterpiece). The film is so subtle it hurts (in a good way) and will likely alienate many in theaters because of it. This is not a hard film to understand, but it certainly takes work to Tony Gilroy's new conspiracy thriller is All the President's Men's kid brother, and very nearly as good. It's a no-bs, adult, smart, ingeniously stylized, masterpiece (yes, I said it, masterpiece). The film is so subtle it hurts (in a good way) and will likely alienate many in theaters because of it. This is not a hard film to understand, but it certainly takes work to appreciate. It's not about anything in particular (although ecological issues surely are raised) and it has no specific political agenda. It's more and beyond that. Michael Clayton concerns personal ethics, forcing its character's to make big moral decisions. The way the film delves into these issues is provocative, fantastically paced, brilliantly scripted, and enrapturing to see unfold. Expand
  63. Stefan
    Oct 13, 2007
    9
    The characters are complex, interesting, human, and very well acted. Clooney did an excellent job of showing many sides of his character without ever going over the top, and Tilda Swinton was absolutely captivating in every scene she was in. Highly recommended.
  64. CorranH.
    Oct 14, 2007
    9
    I'm disappointed (but not surprised) by some of the negative reactions to this. This isn't a movie for everyone. I felt that Tony Gilroy made an EXCELLENT directing debut with this, and the main cast members (Clooney, Swinton, Wilkinson--in a role reminiscent of Peter Finch's in Network, and Pollack) all deliver excellent performances. I wouldn't be surprised to see a I'm disappointed (but not surprised) by some of the negative reactions to this. This isn't a movie for everyone. I felt that Tony Gilroy made an EXCELLENT directing debut with this, and the main cast members (Clooney, Swinton, Wilkinson--in a role reminiscent of Peter Finch's in Network, and Pollack) all deliver excellent performances. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few Oscar noms come this movie's way. Definitely an excellent entry into the family of intelligent thrillers like All The President's Men, Parallax View, 3 Days of the Condor, Traffic, and Syriana. Expand
  65. AlexB
    Oct 14, 2007
    8
    A smart but unpretentious and entertaining thriller. Clooney is sturdy as always, but the movie doesn't over-focus on his titular character, and the supporting roles are acted quite well. This movie could have easily become a snooze-fest considering its dry premise (lawyers are not the most interesting people on Earth) but the film never delves into technical wankery, instead it A smart but unpretentious and entertaining thriller. Clooney is sturdy as always, but the movie doesn't over-focus on his titular character, and the supporting roles are acted quite well. This movie could have easily become a snooze-fest considering its dry premise (lawyers are not the most interesting people on Earth) but the film never delves into technical wankery, instead it flows well and keeps the action moving. Surprisingly good film. Expand
  66. JackC.
    Oct 14, 2007
    9
    George Clooney is amazing in this stunningly lifelike legal drama. "Michael Clayton" is a psychological thriller, a movie that says more than it shows.
  67. marciaV
    Oct 14, 2007
    10
    This is one of the most solid movies I have seen in the last year. Clooney is terrific. Although this is an excellent thriller--the action really lies in the compromises almost everyone has to make.
  68. ChrisManning
    Oct 15, 2007
    7
    would like to see more directorial work from Mr. Gilroy. This was a challenging but ultimately rewarding film.
  69. LindaW
    Oct 15, 2007
    9
    Excellent movie! Keeps you thinking long after the credits roll.
  70. brianlucy
    Oct 15, 2007
    9
    Superbly acted. Engaging story. Nuff said.
  71. Joan
    Oct 17, 2007
    9
    An intelligent, well-written story. At first, it seems a bit confusing; however, the layers start to unravel to a powerful conclusion. Fine performances by the entire cast - one of the better movies out there right now. Well worth seeing.
  72. PeterK
    Oct 18, 2007
    9
    wow...one of the best movies i have seen in the past couple years. Great story, performances, direction and screenplay...
  73. halb
    Oct 18, 2007
    8
    An excellent legal thriller and morality play. A great combination of character and plot, with excellent performances all around. I came away thinking "now that's how you make an intelligent film for grownups". Entertaining because it feels so real, so plausible... unlike most of what passes for movie drama these days. A Hollywood ending, but with a payoff that doesn't feel An excellent legal thriller and morality play. A great combination of character and plot, with excellent performances all around. I came away thinking "now that's how you make an intelligent film for grownups". Entertaining because it feels so real, so plausible... unlike most of what passes for movie drama these days. A Hollywood ending, but with a payoff that doesn't feel contrived or cheap. Expand
  74. ChadT
    Oct 18, 2007
    9
    I'm not normally a legal thriller kind of guy, but this one is excellent. There is not even a dramatic courtroom scene! Good pacing and great acting across the board. The time shifting is effective and actually makes sense to the story. One of Clooney's best to date.
  75. miker.
    Oct 19, 2007
    10
    Best legal thriller in recent memory.
  76. FranL.
    Oct 19, 2007
    8
    Powerful, well-acted.
  77. JohnB.
    Oct 20, 2007
    9
    The directing here is both simple yet elegant in portraying the moody psychological story of corruption and big business which to my viewing pleasure brought the thriller to another level. A tight, intelligent script combined with good performances all around set Michael Clayton among the top movies of the year.
  78. DeborahL.
    Oct 20, 2007
    10
    Riveting, humane and wonderfully constructed and performed. Wilkinson, Swinton, Clooney, Pollack to die for.
  79. AdamL.
    Oct 20, 2007
    9
    Joyce C., quit rating films you didn't like as zeros. No, better yet, just go away; your swamp is lonely without you. Like it or not, this film is sharply written, well-acted, and beautifully shot. Save your zeros for films that truly deserve it (and for your information, there are only a few).
  80. billC
    Oct 21, 2007
    8
    Took a while to make sense , but ultimately a interesting story that was well done. Gee, a movie with a exploding car that was actually a part of the story line and not just eye candy! Bill C.
  81. normf.
    Oct 22, 2007
    9
    This movie is a slow burn..the characters are understated and lifelike- -not over the top, like so much Hollywood shlock. I agree with those who say it is not "revealing" or exciting in a traditional sense, but it has an inherently interesting premise, and you still want to know how it will play out, even when you are fairly sure what will play out. This is due to good acting and direction.
  82. MattL.
    Oct 23, 2007
    8
    A very strong plot with great performances by George Clooney and the rest of the cast.
  83. BillyS.
    Oct 24, 2007
    7
    O.K. it's very good, but I don't see it being a classic thriller. The story is really overloaded with a lot of sub-plots that weigh it down but all the actors do a tremendous job of pulling them all together resulting in a killer ending. Clooney, Wilkinson, Pollock and Swinton are excellent but the whole thing reminded me of The Rainmaker. I think the critics are a little eager O.K. it's very good, but I don't see it being a classic thriller. The story is really overloaded with a lot of sub-plots that weigh it down but all the actors do a tremendous job of pulling them all together resulting in a killer ending. Clooney, Wilkinson, Pollock and Swinton are excellent but the whole thing reminded me of The Rainmaker. I think the critics are a little eager to say Oscar nomination on this one probably because its the "serious" Clooney. It's good, but come on, a masterpiece? Expand
  84. NickX
    Oct 25, 2007
    9
    This was a thoroughly engaging movie. Great ensemble cast. Acting and writing was excellent throughout. Recommended.
  85. RichardW.
    Oct 25, 2007
    9
    After the movie sorts itself out, it is incredibly intricate and brilliantly acted.
  86. koen
    Oct 26, 2007
    9
    grand, intelligent entertainment; with the right changes in pace all along.
  87. PeterK.
    Oct 27, 2007
    9
    Slow paced at first but an old-school legal thriller that unfolds well through the fine script and brilliant acting of George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Sydney Pollack and especially Tom Wilkinson. Though there is no true Hitchcock surprise ending, it belongs to his era of film-making. A great film with lots of intelligent dialogue - probably why it is not doing as well as other teenage gore films.
  88. MarcK.
    Oct 27, 2007
    8
    Not really a deep or profound film, but very entertaining. Tilda Swinton might be the best actress right now in the entire film industry. She is fantastic in almost everything she does.
  89. GD
    Oct 27, 2007
    8
    8.5 Exceptional! Michael Clayton is one of the best movies I've seen all year, including the over-looked Zodiac. It is definitely George Clooney's best movie hands down. A movie that doesn't make you feel cheated at the end...now that is rare. Tom Wilkenson may just get an Oscar.
  90. MaureenT.
    Oct 28, 2007
    10
    The best movie I've seen in years.
  91. MinkaL.
    Oct 28, 2007
    10
    I loved this movie. It felt like manna from Hollywood, a smart somber fascinating thriller. I cared about it, perhaps because it seemed to be about America right now, exhausted with moral compromises and adrift. It was not the usual sentimental backwash. ALL the acting was terrific.
  92. equality7-2521
    Nov 3, 2007
    10
    Inspiring. Not a single wasted frame or word. You'll find poetry hidden throughout. I think it's my favorite movie of the year.
  93. avery
    Feb 12, 2010
    8
    I love this film. I don't understand how folks have such trouble with gilroy's plots. they aren't that byzantine. just watch some hitchcock for the 50's and 60's. duplicity is a bit too clever, but MC is very simple legal case stuff. i mean, it's no more complex than an episode of boston legal. hey, mark t: don't bust on michael bay. it takes a great I love this film. I don't understand how folks have such trouble with gilroy's plots. they aren't that byzantine. just watch some hitchcock for the 50's and 60's. duplicity is a bit too clever, but MC is very simple legal case stuff. i mean, it's no more complex than an episode of boston legal. hey, mark t: don't bust on michael bay. it takes a great deal of talent to make the rock and armageddon, and do not forget that tony gilroy helped write armageddon. to each his talent. Expand
  94. JoshP.
    Mar 19, 2010
    10
    The year 2007 produced so several of instant classics in my book, and Michael Clayton is definitly one of them. This movie was, for the most part, a character piece, and George Clooney, along with the superb support from Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton, most certainly delivered is best performance yet.
  95. Steve
    Apr 26, 2010
    7
    Kevin C is right, the first hour of the movie is completly and utterly confusing, (just like the movie 7 Pounds with Will Smith) In the theatre people were squirming in their seats looking at other people like" do you get this" In the end and after watching it again, I get it, and the ending is good, but holy crap it takes a while to get there. The acting is great. There's just one Kevin C is right, the first hour of the movie is completly and utterly confusing, (just like the movie 7 Pounds with Will Smith) In the theatre people were squirming in their seats looking at other people like" do you get this" In the end and after watching it again, I get it, and the ending is good, but holy crap it takes a while to get there. The acting is great. There's just one scence I still don't understand even after multiple watchings. In the book the Cloony's son is reading, there is a drawing of some tree's and some horses, and then later when George is driving in the country he see's what I believe to be a snapshot of the book drawing, with the horses and some tree's up on a hill. It's the scene where is car explodes. I just don't understand the connection, was reading the book the thing that saved him from getting blown up, what are the odd's that he would see these things right around when his car blew up. They don't make it clear enough the connection and I still don't understand it, can someone explain this. they should of had a disclosure on both of these movie's saying "you won't have a clue what is going on for the first hour, but then you'll get it". Expand
  96. Nov 16, 2011
    7
    Although this movie is a little dry at times and the exact thing that the film makers are trying to say seems unclear to me, Michael Clayton is a solid movie with some good themes, relatable characters and some real good performances. Clooney is good throughout and his performance in the last scene is FANTASTIC and a must see. Recommended.
  97. Jun 8, 2014
    8
    I typically find most George Clooney movies to be a tad boring, but this one was certainly not boring at all. Rather, it managed to have my attention from beginning to end trying to follow everything that was going on. For starters, the plot is a bit confusing and convoluted at times and that would be a bad thing if they did not resolve my questions at the end. Throughout, the tension isI typically find most George Clooney movies to be a tad boring, but this one was certainly not boring at all. Rather, it managed to have my attention from beginning to end trying to follow everything that was going on. For starters, the plot is a bit confusing and convoluted at times and that would be a bad thing if they did not resolve my questions at the end. Throughout, the tension is always present and keeps you on the edge of your seat as more and more questions get answered and the puzzle pieces start coming together. At the end of the day, it is amazing just how far some will go to keep their dirty secrets from being aired and, really, that is what this one is about. The film summary on many sites is somewhat accurate, but really fails to capture what this one is truly about. The writing here is also very sharp and the cinematography is very stylish as well. George Clooney is also great here, as well as Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton in smaller roles. Then again, the acting as a whole was very good. Finally, the monologue delivered by Wilkinson at the beginning (and later finished as the story truly begins) is also phenomenally written and delivered. It really sets the tone for the rest of the film. Overall, "Michael Clayton" is a good, tense thriller that is a bit slow and confusing at times, but is undoubtedly satisfying. Expand
  98. Aug 27, 2014
    8
    With a stellar script and powerful direction from Tony Gilroy, it isn't surprising how passionate the performances were. Clooney, Wilkinson and Swinton--all in top form.
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.