Michael Clayton

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 322 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 322
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  1. Aug 15, 2015
    4
    I have watched a lot of movies in my life, but never in my days did I see such **** up movie like "Michael Clayton". First to start off, the movie is a genre exercise; it throws in all the ingredients into one bowl for a cake. But the problem is that the cake tastes like **** I have NO clue how the story goes on and it's mainly compromised of little bits of unfinished stories. However theI have watched a lot of movies in my life, but never in my days did I see such **** up movie like "Michael Clayton". First to start off, the movie is a genre exercise; it throws in all the ingredients into one bowl for a cake. But the problem is that the cake tastes like **** I have NO clue how the story goes on and it's mainly compromised of little bits of unfinished stories. However the movie has no point of it's existence....because there is NO MORAL. What's the point of the story? Stop pollution? certainly one of the most depressing movie of the year Expand
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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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  7. 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
  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. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Dec 21, 2011
    2
    Extremely boring....I could hardly stay awake enough to pay attention. Do not see this late at night or after more than one drink....you will soon be sound asleep.
  16. 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.
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. WinstonL.
    Dec 25, 2009
    10
    Sydney Pollack ALSO deserved an Oscar nod for ACTING!
  25. 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.
  26. NickG
    Aug 2, 2009
    1
    I've had to force myself to watch this film on more than on occasion and I have to say that I still haven't quite caught on to the unnecessarily complicated plot.The performance of the actors, I have to say was quite convincing...But it still was enough for me to enjoy the film.It is baffling to see the acclaim this movie got-I doubt most of the reviewers understood this movie 100%.
  27. 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.
  28. KevinC.
    Jan 10, 2009
    0
    Horrible. Watched it with 5 intelligent, educated professionals, and 1 hour in to it, when it was obvious everyone wanted to quit watching it we still couldn't tell you what the movie was about. Possibly the most boring film I've ever tried to endure. I truly can't believe the acclaim this steaming pile of boredom received...it completely baffles me. God, it was so bad.
  29. 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
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. MiKE
    May 31, 2008
    0
    Well acted. but who cares? This movie was a bore! I made myself watch the whole movie, waiting for clever twist. But it never came.
  33. JohnN.
    May 6, 2008
    5
    Very slow and predictable. Characters had the potential, but the plot was weak.
  34. 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.
  35. 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 !
  36. 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
  37. 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.
  38. 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
  39. 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.
  40. JamesF.
    Mar 12, 2008
    5
    Nothing special here. This story should have been a hour crime solving TV show. Overhyped, I was disappointed.
  41. DeanC.
    Mar 11, 2008
    0
    Way too slow.took too long to develop.
  42. 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
  43. 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.
  44. NancyZ.
    Mar 2, 2008
    3
    Film went off in hundred directions and never quite developed anything. Clooney just broods. I can not see the hipe in this film. What a mess.
  45. 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.
  46. 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
  47. AnneA.
    Feb 26, 2008
    10
    2/26 Just saw. Absolutely fabulous!!! Best movie we've seen in years should of won more oscars!!!
  48. 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.
  49. JoeT.
    Feb 25, 2008
    2
    The Western elite are flawed and morally bankrupt, I get it. ...Impeccably shot though.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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
  53. 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
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. SM
    Feb 20, 2008
    10
    I have enjoyed this movie the most among the nominees of this year.
  57. ChristopherS.
    Feb 20, 2008
    3
    This movie spent a lot of time showing us how flawed and difficult Michael Clayton's life is, he gambles, he's divorced, his restaurant is being sold off, his father is hooked up to oxygen his brother is an alcoholic loser and he's in debt to who? Mobsters? And he has till Friday to pay them off? If he doesn't then what?. So What!! I suppose to serve as a contrast to This movie spent a lot of time showing us how flawed and difficult Michael Clayton's life is, he gambles, he's divorced, his restaurant is being sold off, his father is hooked up to oxygen his brother is an alcoholic loser and he's in debt to who? Mobsters? And he has till Friday to pay them off? If he doesn't then what?. So What!! I suppose to serve as a contrast to his great abilities as "fixer". But the one scene where the best "fixer" in the business shows his stuff is at the very beginning when he is called upon to help a client with a sticky hit and run problem. What does he offer this desperate man as a solution? The name of a good trial attorney! The client was understandably unimpressed, so was I. The rest of the movie he's nothing more then a glorified baby-sitter and he screws that up pretty badly. The scene in the field with the horses falls flat simply because Clooney is incapable of letting himself go emotionally. As a result it comes off as an awkward contrivance created simply to get the character out of the car. As a hero Michael Clayton is unimpressive and unimposing. As a villain, Karen Crowder is laughable. This underwritten nebbish of a character is all that stands in Michael's way? Give me a break. The climactic confrontation at the end is a joke. I felt sorry for Crowder and thought Clayton looked more like a classroom bully who gets his kicks picking on little girls then an avenging hero standing up for truth and justice. Totally unimpressive. Expand
  58. StuartC.
    Feb 17, 2008
    3
    This is an anti capitalist diatribe worthy of a left wing zealot like Clooney. And by the way don't you require a body to make sure someone is dead?
  59. Jack
    Feb 17, 2008
    10
    Oscar worthy. Not for the younger crowd.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. AriK.
    Jan 31, 2008
    8
    Very cool and gratifying film. An amazing cast too.
  65. 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
  66. JasonW.
    Jan 29, 2008
    0
    I didn't buy the premise of this movie. In real life, a lawyer off the rails like the one portrayed here would simply be replaced by his firm. The excuses for not doing this were flimsy. Furthermore, what's with this hackenyed plot? Big, bad, greedy corporation is taken down by good-hearted hero. Please! This theme has been done to death. I don't understand what the critics I didn't buy the premise of this movie. In real life, a lawyer off the rails like the one portrayed here would simply be replaced by his firm. The excuses for not doing this were flimsy. Furthermore, what's with this hackenyed plot? Big, bad, greedy corporation is taken down by good-hearted hero. Please! This theme has been done to death. I don't understand what the critics see in this unoriginal work. Expand
  67. AndrewD.
    Jan 29, 2008
    0
    A great film for people who are deeply moved by class action suits, lawyers droning endless legalese, and George Clooney's expressionless face. Corporate "thrillers" suck. Who wants to watch movies about this stuff? Workaholics? Save yourself the expense and just work some overtime--you'll get the same thrill and make an extra buck or two in the process.
  68. 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.
  69. EricL.
    Jan 28, 2008
    8
    Decent movie. Tom Wilkinson was amazing in this movie and so was George Cloony.
  70. 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
  71. FrankS.
    Jan 27, 2008
    0
    Talking heads. Far too much dialogue. To the filmmakers: learn to use your medium. Less is more. Show, don't tell. A picture is worth a thousand words. And PLEASE don't have one character read the CV of another character aloud! Take a screenwriting course to learn how to avoid this. (How do millions get spent on a fundamentally bad movie...? And these critics--are they paid off Talking heads. Far too much dialogue. To the filmmakers: learn to use your medium. Less is more. Show, don't tell. A picture is worth a thousand words. And PLEASE don't have one character read the CV of another character aloud! Take a screenwriting course to learn how to avoid this. (How do millions get spent on a fundamentally bad movie...? And these critics--are they paid off by the studio or something?) Expand
  72. MichaelP
    Jan 27, 2008
    1
    I only give this a one because of a couple of decent scenes, one being at the very end. Otherwise, as many users said here, the most overrated film of the year. Much adieu about nothing, plot-wise. Structuring the whole movie as one long flashback--by giving away a key ending scene--blew all the suspense for what might have been a very good part of the film. Overall, this felt contrived, I only give this a one because of a couple of decent scenes, one being at the very end. Otherwise, as many users said here, the most overrated film of the year. Much adieu about nothing, plot-wise. Structuring the whole movie as one long flashback--by giving away a key ending scene--blew all the suspense for what might have been a very good part of the film. Overall, this felt contrived, like the filmmakers were trying too hard to be artsy and not hard enough simply to tell a good, gripping story. Your money is better spent on other films that are out right now. Expand
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. GeorgeC.
    Jan 16, 2008
    9
    People who don't like this movie are idiots.
  77. laladada
    Jan 14, 2008
    0
    I'd only give this movie a ten for the ten or so snores i heard in the unpacked theater screening. despite it being a free screening, i was quite upset that i lost two hours of precious time. actually, just an hour and a half...i got some much needed sleep during the other 30 minutes. at least i left the theater somewhat rested.
  78. 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.
  79. 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
  80. 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.
  81. 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.
  82. DanaM.
    Dec 2, 2007
    9
    Excellent thriller. Worth the entrance fee to see this well-made film. Great acting by all.
  83. Troll
    Dec 2, 2007
    9
    Excellent direction. Clooney in his best inrerpretation: Oscar candidate.
  84. TaylorC.
    Nov 26, 2007
    0
    Holy crap this blew! I agree with Olson or whatever.
  85. 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
  86. 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
  87. 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.
  88. 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.
  89. Orson
    Nov 11, 2007
    2
    I laughed a lot, then walked out 90 minutes later in the face of this dreck. "Clayton" is a noir version of "Erin Brockovich," but instead of telling us from the plaintif's side, we see the defendants view. The story hinges on believing in a conspiracy of 11 people knowing The Truth - except that at least a few dozen more know it. The story's body count is only a fraction of I laughed a lot, then walked out 90 minutes later in the face of this dreck. "Clayton" is a noir version of "Erin Brockovich," but instead of telling us from the plaintif's side, we see the defendants view. The story hinges on believing in a conspiracy of 11 people knowing The Truth - except that at least a few dozen more know it. The story's body count is only a fraction of what was needed to keep a lip on this! Hence, my laughter at its predictability. PEOPLE! Didn't Watergate, or at least "All The President's Men," not teach us that beyond 6-12 in the loop, The Truth will out? Yes. At least most films violating this tule distract the audience with action ACTION A-C-T-I-O-N! This one's a ponderous, pretentious bore, redeemed only by fine acting and production values - but an unbelievable script. Expand
  90. BasilL.
    Nov 10, 2007
    9
    Overall a good movie with a good ending but at times can be slow.
  91. 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.
  92. 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
  93. OhshiA.
    Nov 8, 2007
    0
    Very over-rated, this film didn't entice me from the start. It had a little bit of everything which added up to nothing. I guess I've seen one too many "lawyer" movies to think this film had anything new or significant to contribute.
  94. 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.
  95. 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.
  96. DanB.
    Nov 3, 2007
    9
    Clooney for President.
  97. 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.
  98. richardf.
    Oct 31, 2007
    1
    Highly overrated. Clooney for an Oscar? please.
  99. 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.
  100. 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.
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.