Michael Clayton

A grownup movie. What a concept! Only one blowie uppie thingie, and IT is an empty car...

George Clooney ("Ocean's" series and "O Brother, Where Art Thou?") has turned in his best work to date. This one doesn't have the tongue-in-cheek smirk he uses so often. He plays a guy who is good at what he does...he's a "janitor" or "fixer" for a prominent law firm. In other words, he is the clean-up man when they might otherwise be forced to soil their lily-white gloves. He has no job description, no job security and no job satisfaction.

His old bad gambling habit seems to have been satisfied by a BIG gamble he took with his brother when they opened a restaurant together, which promptly failed. This left him in overwhelming debt and under a LOT of pressure to pay that debt. His relationship with his pre-teen son is nebulous at best, with the kid casting doubtful and skeptical glances his way when he comes by to pick him up for school. He is distracted, worried and preoccupied, so he isn't the best parent right now.

His law firm is negotiating a lawsuit for a huge chemical conglomerate and they are on the brink of settling a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit. Problem is, their brilliant lead attorney seems to have gone off the deep end. This guilt-ridden fellow, played by Tom Wilkinson ("The Full Monty" and "In The Bedroom") is in the process of sabotaging the case and is threatening to come clean. So far the main partner, played by Sidney Pollack ("Avenue Montaigne" and "Tootsie") has managed to convince himself that his firm's defense is justified and that he is on the correct side. He is convinced that his poor lead attorney just needs to get back on his "meds."

The lead litigator for the chemical firm, played by Tilda Swinton ("The Deep End" and "Chronicles of Narnia"), is a tightly wound, ambitious woman who employs "muscle" for those rare times when she deems them necessary. This is one of those times...

This film moves at a deliberate pace, underplayed and quietly spoken. In fact, for my poor ears, when the DVD comes out, I will view it so I can catch much of the dialogue that I missed. Aarghhh! This may be a spoiler, but I will say that it has a satisfying wrap and we all left the theatre happy.