Michael Clayton

Michael Clayton Information

Michael Clayton is a 2007 American drama film written and directed by Tony Gilroy, starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton and Sydney Pollack. The film chronicles the attempts by attorney Michael Clayton to cope with a colleague's apparent mental breakdown, and the corruption and intrigue surrounding a major client of his law firm being sued in a class action case over the effects of toxic agrochemicals.

The film received positive reviews and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Gilroy and Best Actor for Clooney, with Swinton winning the award for Best Supporting Actress.


Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is a "fixer" from a prestigious New York City law firm, using his connections and his knowledge of legal loopholes for his clients' benefit. After leaving an underground poker game and dealing with a wealthy client's (Denis O'Hare) hit and run, Michael drives aimlessly and stops at a remote field. When he leaves his car to admire some scenery, the car explodes behind him.

Four days earlier, one of the firm's leading attorneys, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson), has a bizarre outburst in the middle of a deposition in Milwaukee involving a class action lawsuit against U-North, an agricultural products conglomerate. Michael arrives in Milwaukee and bails Arthur out of jail, but he escapes from their hotel room in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton), U-North's general counsel, discovers that Arthur had come into possession of a confidential U-North document detailing the company's decision to manufacture a weed killer that it knew to be carcinogenic. Karen brings this to the attention of U-North's CEO. He puts Karen in contact with two men who are secretly on retainer by U-North (Robert Prescott, Terry Serpico). She contracts them to follow Arthur and plant bugs in his apartment and phone. When they report that Arthur is building a case to expose his own client, Karen asks that Arthur be eliminated. The same two men proceed to do as she directs. They secretly murder Arthur in a very sophisticated way designed to resemble a heart attack, possibly brought on by a drug overdose.

Michael is saddened by the actual news of Arthur's death, but becomes suspicious upon learning that U-North was planning a settlement just a few days before and that Arthur had booked a flight for one of the plaintiffs, Anna (Merritt Wever). He learns from Anna that she told no one of her conversations with Arthur, not even her attorney, arousing in Michael further suspicion about how his firm came to know of Arthur's conversations with the U-North plaintiffs. With the help of his other brother Gene (Sean Cullen) in the police department Michael gets access to Arthur's sealed apartment and discovers a receipt from a copy store. Upon investigation, he discovers that Arthur had ordered three thousand copies of the confidential U-North document. Michael takes a copy with him, but the two hit men are tailing him and inform Karen of the situation. Michael is about to show his boss, Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack), what he has discovered, only to be offered a renewal of his employment contract as well as an $80,000 bonus he had requested to cover his debt resulting from a bad restaurant investment, although it comes with a confidentiality agreement to prevent him from ever shaking down the firm.

One of the hit men rigs his car with a bomb. Michael receives a phone call summoning him to the meeting with the client in Westchester County who had committed a hit-and-run, as seen at the start of the movie. He is being followed by the two men, but they have trouble tailing him. The surveillance team, still off but near Michael's trail, detonates the remote bomb while he is out of the car. An unharmed but surprised Michael runs back to his car and throws his personal effects inside, faking his own death.

Later, at a U-North board meeting, Karen proposes approval of a new settlement agreement. Michael is waiting for her when she exits the conference, and informs her that he has access to copies of the U-North memo and that he knows about her role in Arthur's murder. He goads Karen into offering him $10 million for his silence. Karen reluctantly agrees, prompting Michael to reveal the phone in his pocket that has conveyed their conversation to the police. As he walks away, Karen falls to her knees in shock while detectives rush forward to arrest her. Michael leaves the building and hails a cab, he passes the driver 50 dollars and tells him to "just drive."


  • George Clooney as Michael Clayton. As the "fixer" for Kenner, Bach, and Ledeen, it is his job to clean up messes for the firm. He refers to himself as a "janitor", and he does not appear to enjoy his job.
  • Tom Wilkinson as Arthur Edens, senior litigation partner in the firm and a good friend of Michael Clayton and Marty Bach. He has bipolar disorder and is the lead attorney for U-North in a class-action case.
  • Tilda Swinton as Karen Crowder, general counsel at U-North, a ruthless lawyer who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Swinton won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.
  • Sydney Pollack as Marty Bach, Head of Kenner, Bach, and Ledeen and a friend of Clayton's.



The film premiered August 31, 2007, at the Venice Film Festival and was shown at the American Films Festival of Deauville on September 2, 2007, and at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2007. It opened in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2007, and at the Dubai Film Festival in December 2007. The film opened in limited release in the United States on October 5, 2007, and opened in wide release in the U.S. on October 12, 2007. The film grossed USD $10.3 million on the opening week. It was re-released on January 25, 2008. The film has grossed $49 million domestically, $92.9 million worldwide.

Home media

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on February 19, 2008. The DVD contains deleted scenes and a commentary by writer/director Tony Gilroy. On March 11, 2008 the movie was also released on HD DVD.


Critical reception

The film received strong positive reviews from critics. As of November 2008, the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 90% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 184 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 82 out of 100, based on 36 reviews. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave it an 'A' saying that it was "better than good, it just about restores your faith." Roger Ebert gave it a 4-star review and Richard Roeper named it the 'best film of the year.' It was also Richard Schickel's top film of 2007, and he called it "a morally alert, persuasively realistic and increasingly suspenseful melodrama, impeccably acted and handsomely staged by Tony Gilroy". The reviews on Box Office Mojo give the movie a normal B. Time magazine said that "Michael Clayton is not an exercise in high-tension energy; you'll never confuse its eponymous protagonist with Jason Bourne. But it does have enough of a melodramatic pulse to keep you engaged in its story and, better than that, it is full of plausible characters who are capable of surprising"?and surpassing"?your expectations".

Top ten lists

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007.

  • 1st " Claudia Puig, USA Today
  • 1st " Richard Roeper, At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper
  • 1st " Richard Schickel, TIME magazine
  • 2nd " Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle
  • 3rd " Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
  • 5th " Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald
  • 6th " Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
  • 6th " Ray Bennett, The Hollywood Reporter
  • 7th " Jack Mathews, New York Daily News
  • 7th " Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
  • 7th " Manohla Dargis, The New York Times (tied with Lady Chatterley)
  • 7th " Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
  • 8th " A.O. Scott, The New York Times (tied with The Lives of Others)
  • 8th " Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times
  • 8th " Shawn Levy, The Oregonian
  • 8th " Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • 9th " Dennis Harvey, Variety (tied with Romantico)
  • 9th " Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter



  • 80th Academy Awards (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
  • British Academy of Film and Television Arts
  • Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards
  • Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award
  • Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award
  • Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association
  • London Film Critics Association
  • Edgar Award
    • Best Motion Picture Screenplay


  • 80th Academy Awards
    • Best Actor in a Leading Role (George Clooney)
    • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Tom Wilkinson)
    • Best Director (Tony Gilroy)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Original Screenplay (Tony Gilroy)
    • Best Original Score (James Newton Howard)
  • 65th Golden Globe Awards
    • Best Motion Picture " Drama
    • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture " Drama (George Clooney)
    • Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Tom Wilkinson)
    • Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Tilda Swinton)
  • Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
    • Best Actor (George Clooney)
    • Best Director (Tony Gilroy)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Screenplay, Original (Tony Gilroy)
    • Best Supporting Actor (Tom Wilkinson)
    • Best Supporting Actress (Tilda Swinton)
    • Most Promising Filmmaker (Tony Gilroy)
  • Satellite Awards
    • Best Actress in a Supporting Role " Drama (Tilda Swinton)
    • Best Original Screenplay (Tony Gilroy)
  • Screen Actors Guild Awards
    • Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Tilda Swinton)
    • Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role (George Clooney)
    • Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Tom Wilkinson)
  • Venice Film Festival
    • Golden Lion (Tony Gilroy)


Main article: Michael Clayton (soundtrack)
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Michael Clayton was released on September 25, 2007 on the Varèse Sarabande label. The soundtrack was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Michael_Clayton_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



Page generated in 0.28464317321777 seconds