354. Michael Clayton

Movie: Michael Clayton

Release Date: October 5, 2007

Director: Tony Gilroy

Starring: George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sydney Pollack.

Tag Lines: “The Truth Can Be Adjusted.”

“The truth is what he makes it.”

Relevance: Before each Academy Award broadcast, I try to see all of the nominated films for Best Picture. Most years I am successful. In 2008, the year ‘Michael Clayton’ was nominated for seven Oscars (and won one), I was successful but just at the buzzer. I used to buy all of the nominated Best Picture films on DVD (now I only buy the winner), and ‘Michael Clayton’ was released a few days before the ceremony. It did not win Best Picture, but I am glad I own it because it is a movie that I have watched numerous times over the years.

It is a wonderful melodramatic thriller with top-notch acting, including the handsome George Clooney and the Academy Award winning performance by Tilda Swinton. This is a movie that gets better the more you see it, almost as much as ‘The Usual Suspects’ (a movie that will show up later this year). Re-watching it after you know all of the twists and turns of the plot helps you better appreciate how flawless the acting really is in the movie.

I lent the DVD to a co-worker after I had watched it and gave it rave reviews. I told them they were going to love it and I couldn’t wait to talk to them about it. To my dismay, after they had the movie for over a week, returned it and said they couldn’t finish watching it. They said they couldn’t get past the scene with the horses. It was too weird for them. I argued that the scene was just at the beginning and they didn’t give the movie a chance. But they were too fixated on that one scene and didn’t care about the rest of the movie. I was confused, but accepted that one man’s art is another man’s garbage, and vice versa.

Today’s Thoughts: This movie does not get old for me. It has to be one of my favorite screenplays over the last fifteen years. If the movie were released before 2000, it might have had a higher ranking on my list of most influential movies. I feel movies need to marinate in our psyche for awhile. In a few years, I am sure this movie could float higher to the top. It’s that good.

The three main actors, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson are so wonderful, its hard to pick a favorite. They are three very flawed characters that the audience still roots for in one way or another, which is not an easy task for actors. Each one of them have very subtle moments and very grand moments in the movie, all times played with a certain authenticity and realness. They bring an already superior screenplay to a whole other level.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone that enjoys a dramatic thriller and urge you to make it past the scene with the horses.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Tilda Swinton (winner), Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year (nomination), Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, George Clooney (nomination), Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Tom Wilkinson (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Directing, Tony Gilroy (nomination), Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Tony Gilroy (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Picture, Original Score, James Newton Howard (nomination),Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor – Drama, George Clooney (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Tom Wilkinson (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress, Tilda Swinton (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Original, Tony Gilroy (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Leading Actor, George Clooney (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor, Tom Wilkinson (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Editing, John Gilroy (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, George Clooney (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Tom Wilkinson (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Tilda Swinton (nomination), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, Tony Gilroy (nomination), National Board of Review Award, Top Ten Films (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Actor, George Clooney (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress, Tilda Swinton (nomination), PGA Award for Outstanding Producer if Theatrical Motion Pictures, Jennifer Fox, Kerry Orent, Sydney Pollack, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay, Tony Gilroy (nomination).

Ways to Watch: iTunes, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu.

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