Michael Clayton: The Poll

Michael Clayton: The Poll

****
1
3%
*** 1/2
10
29%
***
15
43%
** 1/2
4
11%
**
4
11%
* 1/2
1
3%
*
0
No votes
1/2 *
0
No votes
0
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 35

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Penelope
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Postby Penelope » Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:07 am

My problem vis a vis credibility in Michael Clayton has to do with two elements:

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1. Wouldn’t the deaths of two lawyers representing the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against a huge corporation lead to a suspension of any settlement? Especially if one of the deaths—the car explosion—would clearly indicate murder…?

2. Arthur’s entire relationship with Anna makes no sense to me; Merrit Wever gives such a fine performance as Anna—indicating her smarts and strength of character—that I find it difficult to believe that she couldn’t see through the obviously batshit crazy Arthur; then there’s the incongruity of age and physical discrepancy between the two—had Arthur been played by, say, Peter Sarsgaard or even George Clooney, I could believe a smart, down-to-earth girl like Anna running off to New York to be with him—but not for a blubbering Tom Wilkinson.

And you’re right, Italiano—the more I think about Michael Clayton, the less impressed I am; in fact, I was thinking just last night that the film less resembles a paranoia thriller from the 70s than it does one of those “high-class” thrillers from the 60s—think Steve McQueen in the Clooney role and Faye Dunaway in the Swinton role.
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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:03 pm

Sonic Youth wrote:Define "work". It's not invisible, but you can't read it unless you highlight it or squint.

It's readable on my computer. Whatever you or the site was doing before, it had to be highlighted, but your "hidden" words were visible this time without highlighting or squinting.
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Damien
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Postby Damien » Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:13 pm

My main problem with Michael Clayton is that


SPOILERS
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(Sonic, how does the hidden text work?)
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Nothing in the movie convinced me that the corporation would stoop to killing people. Gilroy never made the intensity level high enough to make it seem logical that murder would be a logical way for the company to handle its problems -- especially unsatisfying was the scene in which Swinson gives the go ahead.

Other problems I had was that I never quite got exactly what it was that Clooney's character did and why he was so invaluable to the law firm. And Wilkinson's use of the kid's "Dungeons and Dragons"-esque book is never explained or followed through.

Sonic, Clooney threw his watch in the car as it was burning and I think also his wallet. Plus its believable that in an explosion a body would be completely decimated, so that wasn't a problem for me.




Edited By Damien on 1192587388
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Sonic Youth
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Postby Sonic Youth » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:23 pm

Define "work". It's not invisible, but you can't read it unless you highlight it or squint.
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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:19 pm

Sonic Youth wrote:Damien, do you know how to hide spoilers? You can talk about the descrepency if you [color=white]white it out.[/color]

Doesn't work on a grey background.
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Postby Sonic Youth » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:04 pm

Mister Tee wrote:I'm anxious to hear what Damien's specific problem with the finale was. I have alot of vague questions, but can't pinpoint any one particularly glaring hole.

I know exactly what it is:

[color=white]Everyone assumes Clayton was killed by the car bomb. But there was no dead body in the car.


Was that it?[/color]
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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:20 pm

Penelope wrote:(and pretty much the general thoughts here): it's a very good film

Very good? I guess I must have missed something. Watchable, ok. But very good?!

Oh but of course Paddy Chayefsky didn't write it...

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Postby Mister Tee » Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:18 pm

I'm mostly in accord with what others have written here. I found the film consistently absorbing, but never felt it jumped to the next level: it never showed me anything I didn't already know, or really surprise me on a plot level (the closest it came were with Anna's sudden Eastern appearance, and the moment you realize "So THAT'S why the GPS didn't work").

I'm not sure it's fair to say the film's lack of urgency is entirely to be equated with lack of Hollywood slickness. Less can be less, too. I do agree the bluesy mood worked well, and I certainly don't lament the absence of jangly, keep-the-audience-jittery editing (which, based on the coming attraction I saw, will be present in spades in Vantage Point). But there was a point where I though the film lost some narrative propulsion which hurt it: specifically, when they're back in NY and can't find Wilkinson. It seemed like it was absolutely impertaive they track him down immediately; I assumed someone from the firm, not just Swinton's boys, would have his place staked out, and that Clooney would be on the case 24/7. Instead, Wilkinson just appears in his aprtament and no one (overtly) bothers him -- they seem content to wait for a returned call -- while Clooney has a play-date with his son. This part of the film didn't completely make sense for me.

In fact, on the whole, I'd say as a screenwriter Gilroy is more to be praised for his strong acerbic dialogue (which, happily, never tips over into Chayefskyian "I'll explain your whole existence to you and you'll stand there and take it") than for his plotting/story-telling abilities. One exception: I REALLY liked that this movie wasn't The Verdict -- that the semi-sleazeball didn't decide to go all Bogart in Casablanca on us, turning over his cushy life in service of the Greater Good. As he points out to us, he took the $80,000 payoff, even while he had strong suspicions about Wilkinson, and was still on call later that night. And it may well be that his final move on Swinton was for exactly the reason he cited: professional resentment at how she chose to deal with him. It's nice to see a movie not push the bounds of human redemption, and still. achieve a satisfying ending.

Like most here, I liked Clooney and Pollack best. Swinton was good, in general. Wilkinson was over the top, but I would cite his bagful-of-bread scene as one moment when he came down to earth and was affecting.

I'm anxious to hear what Damien's specific problem with the finale was. I have alot of vague questions, but can't pinpoint any one particularly glaring hole.

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Postby Sabin » Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:29 am

I agree, Sonic. The movie might not be terribly urgent by way of plot points that are inherently driving, but as a mood piece, it's fantastic. Robert Elswit's cinematography is outstanding. I find 'Magnolia' to be the cinematic equivalent of an anxiety attack, but his work in 'Punch-Drunk Love' is pretty amazing, and here (as in 'Good Night, and Good Luck.') he's confirmed as one of the best working D.P.'s that we have. The more I think about 'Michael Clayton', the more impressed I am that Gilroy uses his admittedly brilliant screenplay as an opportunity for mood. The text itself is almost afterthought, which (if not accidental) is a brilliant move.
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Postby Sonic Youth » Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:57 pm

I agree there was not much forward momentum in the film, and the story was just the usual Hollywood big-suit thriller, but I disagree that it was lacking in paranoia. I thought it was a very creepy time, partly because of the dark, wintry, very intimate and close-quartered atmosphere, but also because of how it portrays a corporation and the law as a monstrously powerful, omnipresent force hovering over peoples lives, yet one that is in a terrible, disorganized shambles, and how such a monster of a system can break your life or your sanity. I found it to be a mood piece, as well as a character study. In any event, to me "lack of urgency" is synonymous with "lack of conventional studio-slickness", and I was relieved that it went at its own pace. IMO, it sustained itself nicely.

And I'm always grateful for a film written about the adult world for a change, where your decisions have significant repurcussions.

Damien, do you know how to hide spoilers? You can talk about the descrepency if you [color=white]white it out
.[/color]
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Postby Damien » Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:31 am

When I saw it mid-afternoon on a Friday on 42nd Street in NYC (showing on 2 screens) there were about 30 people in the auditorium.

I think the great performance in the film is Merritt Wever's as Anna -- I'll certainly remember her at year's end.
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Postby Akash » Sat Oct 13, 2007 11:02 pm

Penelope wrote:Clooney is terrific in his patented Clooney-esque way,

That's all I need. I'm going tomorrow.

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Postby Penelope » Sat Oct 13, 2007 10:20 pm

Sonic, my theater was packed--sold out, in fact.

At the risk of having my balls sliced off by Italiano, I have to agree with Damien (and pretty much the general thoughts here): it's a very good film, but lacks sufficient energy or genuine paranoia to make it entirely effective (plus, the fact that so much is revealed to the audience removes a great deal of suspense); Clooney is terrific in his patented Clooney-esque way, Swinton is great but not on-screen enough, and Wilkinson hams it up big-time.
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Postby Sonic Youth » Sat Oct 13, 2007 10:08 pm

I liked the movie very much, but I was very concerned with the theater attendence. At my Friday night, 7:30pm showing, only twenty people were in attendence. This was playing on two screens. I don't know how many were in the other theater, but it's possibly only forty went to see the movie at that particular time on that particular night.

Obviously, my theater may not be an accurate representation to the overall box office, but if it is, I think we better lower the bar on box office expectations for the Best Picture slate. This may be a repeat of last year. So far, very few of the prestige films are getting much of an audience.

And maybe we can also stop that talk about "This actor/actress isn't a box office draw! He can't open a movie" whenever a movie flops. In Clooney's case, it's just politically motivated crap. And in this day an age, no one is a box office draw. At least, not if the definition of "box office draw" is "someone who opens a movie big every single time". Two weeks ago, Ben Stiller could open a movie. Now that "The Heartbreak Kid" is an underperformer, he can't. Enough with this nonsense.
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Postby FilmFan720 » Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:06 pm

But Geoffrey Rush was never NOT a ham...Wilkinson at least has some non-hamminess in him.
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