18 February 2008

At the movies: Michael Clayton

A last minute impulse and bit of luck landed my husband and I in a movie theater last night where we saw "Michael Clayton." My husband hated it, branding it with his ultimate insult -- "it was a talk show." I enjoyed it quite a bit more than that and not only because I got to look at George Clooney throughout.

"Michael Clayton" is a dark and brooding movie about a fight for truth and justice despite the evil, American corporate way. Mr. Clooney as the lead role is the "fixer" for a large corporate law firm that is embroiled in a long and expensive defense of a chemical company. (Think of the bad guys in "Erin Brokovich" or "A Civil Action." ) Throughout the course of the movie Michael Clayton realizes he is stuck in a role where he serves evil and decides that he needs to fight the same evil he serves. This isn't a David and Goliath story though. There is no hope that just because one evil giant is eventually slain (at great expense to our hero) others will change their ways.

Overall I give it a solid B plus. George Clooney is this movie and he carries it well. Not sure that he will actually win the Oscar, but the nomination is certainly well-deserved. I especially enjoyed the scene that played opposite the final credits which was just a single camera focused on Mr. Clooney as he rides in a taxi away from the final showdown.

Finally no account of my experience with this movie would be complete without the inclusion of the couple sitting behind us. Apparently they had mistaken the movie theater for their own living room because they talked through the entire thing. At first it was really annoying, but after a while it became humorous because they were both having such a hard time understanding the movie. I even tried shushing them at one point. It was effective for about 5 minutes. At one point the man said, "I would have to sit through this again to understand it at all." I couldn't help thinking that if they had just shut up and paid attention they would have understood a lot more. My husband and I walked out of what was quite a serious movie in uncontrollable giggles because of those two.

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