Michael Clayton is an interesting movie. It’s interesting because it’s power lies in its simplicity. Not a lot happens in this movie, but we find ourselves drawn into the human drama, the tension rising, even though we know what the outcome will be.
George Clooney is a fixer for a prestigious Law firm; he’s the man they call in to fix messy little problems. He refers to himself, as the janitor, and he knows his job is to clean up after people. He’s the poster boy for the movie, declaring; the truth can be adjusted. He should know, the truth, in all its shades of grey is his income.
The truth however is an interesting force, and won’t be told what to do. We see how the truth affects people in different ways through the three key characters in this battle of wits. The first to feel the soothing effects of the truth is Clayton’s friend Arthur, played with gusto by Tom Wilkinson who discovers that the truth will indeed set you free, even if it portrays you as mentally unstable in the eyes of everyone.
The truth however has a very different effect on Karen Crowder, the head in-house attorney for U/North, the films evil nemesis. It’s her job to keep the truth under wraps, and a magnificent, if somewhat unconventional, job she does. But freedom gets further and further away from her the more she hides the truth and the closer she edges to a joy-less mental breakdown.
Then there’s Michael, the truth has always been his friend, able to play it this way and that without ever really noticing the consequences, but the truth has something in store for Michael; it’s the defining moment in his life, a single decision that has to be made that will set him down one of two roads and decide forever what kind of a person he is.
Food for thought:
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. – John 8:32 NLT
Lies place people in bondage. They are destructive yet easily avoidable. They affect both the person telling the lie and the person being lied to. Yet the truth is like a soothing balm that brings freedom. Why does it often seem easier to tell a lie than to face up to the truth?
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Contains Violence & Offensive Language.
Duration: 120 mins.
Actors: George Clooney, Pamela Gray, Sydney Pollack, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson.
Director: Tony Gilroy.
Release Date: 31-01-2008.