Michael Clayton – Tastes Like Grisham

Michael Clayton   B+

Starring George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Tom Wilkinson
Directed by Tony Gilroy
Rated R for language, including some sexual dialogue
Appropriate for ages 17+

The Story: Michael Clayton is a “fixer” at one of the most powerful law firms in New York City.  He takes care of the dirty work better than any attorney in the business.  With job burn-out, a divorce, a failed restaurant, and a gambling addiction to contend with, he must put his life together long enough to survive a controversial and dangerous case his firm is litigating. 

The Good: This is a smart, witty, suspenseful little flick that will leave many audiences very satisfied.  Saying it feels like a John Grisham movie is a compliment to the film.  Dirty lawyers with a conscious and a big character arc usually always make for good entertainment.  It doesn’t hurt that the performances are terrific.  Clooney gives you a huge portal into his soul and Wilkinson steals every scene he appears in. 

The Bad: This isn’t that original of a story.  The case being worked on smells too much like Erin Brokavich and Clooney makes a poor replacement for Julia Roberts.  Clayton is an interesting character, and worth a two-hour film, but the ground here has been tread before, many, many times. 

The Summary:
While not innovative in the least, Michael Clayton still serves up an entertaining yarn.