Academy Awards 2007 -
Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton
Total Film - 10/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] zesty, brainy chaser....A thought-provoking exposť that could land Clooney an Oscar..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2007
"Clooney can suggest depths of weary self-loathing...and his eventual hard-won redemption accordingly carries more emotional weight....Gilroy draws vivid performances from his cast..."
USA Today - 10/05/2007 4 stars out of 4 -- "A deftly written, tautly suspenseful and intellectually demanding morality tale, it stays a step ahead of the audience and features multidimensional characters played by actors at the top of their games."
New York Times - 10/05/2007
"Dark in color, mood and outraged worldview, MICHAEL CLAYTON is a film that speaks to the way we live now....[The film is] adult, sincere, intelligent, absorbing..."
Entertainment Weekly - 10/12/2007
"[A] terrifically engrossing, tethered-to-the-real-world drama....It's better than good; it's such a crackling and mature and accomplished movie that it just about restores your faith."
Rolling Stone - 10/18/2007 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "[T]he film is a triumph for George Clooney, who is at the top of his dramatic form in the title role..."
Los Angeles Times - 10/05/2007
"[A] smart and suspenseful legal thriller that comes completely alive on-screen."
Film Comment - 01/01/2008
"[A] solid, well-crafted, beautifully written and acted thriller....The execution is splendid and the dramatic payoff is considerable..."
Uncut - 03/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "[With] Tom Wilkinson as a hot-shot lawyer in spectacular meltdown. Tilda Swinton is also memorable as a conniving suit....A very grown-up thriller."
Ultimate DVD - 04/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "Clooney plays against his movie star persona, delivering a subtle performance....Thematically MICHAEL CLAYTON bears some comparison to THE INSIDER and, like that film, any morally satisfying pay-off is tempered by the human cost of corporate greed."
Wall Street Journal - 12/04/2009
"[T]he pieces coalesce into a stirring portrait of a man reclaiming his soul from a scrap heap of discarded principles."
Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is what is known in the legal world as a "fixer," or in the character's own pejorative version, a "janitor" who cleans up legal messes for VIPs and corporations on behalf of a prestigious New York City law firm. A former litigator, Clayton has found a niche that capitalizes on his legal acumen and shrewd people skills, and yet, after 13 years on the job, finds himself increasingly disgusted with his clientele. The film covers four pivotal days of his life, in which a midlife crisis and a crisis of conscience neatly converge when he is called in to "fix" a situation unfolding in one of his firm's hottest cases. Brilliant lawyer Arthur Edens (another powerhouse performance by Tom Wilkinson), representing a huge agro-chemical corporation being hit by a class action suit, has a bipolar breakdown, compounded by guilt over his defense of a company that is probably in the wrong, but is wealthy enough to buy its innocence either way. The company's CEO (Tilda Swinton) will stop at nothing to keep Edens from sinking the case. Clayton must decide how much of Edens's mad rebellion against the company is sheer mental illness, how much is true, and how much it will cost him to do the right thing.
Clooney delivers a rich performance as a hangdog and haunted man who wants to stay on the side of good, but is a little too skilled at moral margin-walking to make that an easy choice in every situation. Swinton glows as a secretly frail Amazon who somehow won't let a tortured conscience prevent her from getting ahead. The final third of the film is as suspenseful as any courtroom drama, without ever resorting to legal-thriller cliches.
Description by Warner Home Video:
Attorney Michael Clayton is a "fixer," the go-to guy when his powerful New York law firm wants a mess swept under the rug. But now he's handed a crisis even he may not be able to fix. The firm's top litigator in a $3-billion case has gone from advocate to whistleblower. And the more Michael tries to undo the damage, the more he's up against forces that put corporate survival over human life - including Michael's. George Clooney portrays Michael, backed into a career corner that offers little room to fight free in this suspense-and star-packed thriller written and directed by Tony Gilroy (writer/co-writer of the "Bourne" movie trilogy). Keep your eyes on "Michael Clayton." He has some life-or-death decisions to make. Fast.