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After Arthur Eden, a lawyer representing an agricultural corporation in a lawsuit against some residents suspecting the products of the company to be harmful to their health, breaks down and becomes a threat to the corporate interests as well as to the existence of the law firm, his partner and friend Michael Clayton is being sent to fix it. The desperation boils high on all sides, and a rogue corprate board member unleashes all forces to stop the threat to her carreer and her company.
I guess it needs proper Hollywood craftsmanship to create such a good film – indy talent only takes you halfway there. With perfect production design, creating a rather blunt and unglamorous atmosphere quite in contrast to earlier John-Grisham-ish lawyer thrillers, with both good and bad guys torn and destroyed by their carreers, makign the border between the two sides more blurry than ever, embedded – or rather: not – in dysfunctional families, and in particular with those brilliant actors: George Clooney, say no more. Tom Wilkinson (known from Exorcism of Emily Rose, Batman Begins, Eternal Sunshine, Girl with a Pearl Earring…), I also like seeing David Zayas, because he always makes me wonder where I have seen him before (Dexter, of course, thanks, IMDB) and Sidney Pollack in what I suppose was his last role. And a Tilda Swinton who makes believe that she is permanently fighting beyond her capabilities, always on the edge of breakdown, sometimes beyond (just checking, to me, most memorable Swinton roles have been: Orlando and Young Adam, but I have not yet seen all those Derek Jarman films).
Read Ebert’s Praise here

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