Michael Clayton is a film with many strengths. Clooney inhabits the title role with a fitting weariness; his smirking, sex-symbol image is subdued, allowing Clooney’s acting chops to dominate. Swinton, the most memorable performer in Walden Media’s blockbuster adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (she played the White Witch), puts on a stoic face for the firm while suppressing the increasingly desperate, illegal actions she oversees. The superb cinematography by Robert Elswit (Good Night and Good Luck, Punch Drunk Love, Magnolia) complements Gilroy’s solid direction and writing, making for a strong awards contender, and, more importantly, a thoughtful, entertaining night at the movies.

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CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity:  Lord’s name taken in vain; multiple profanities; crude reference to body parts.
  • Sex/Nudity:  A lawyer strips to his underwear; verbal description of a sex act.
  • Gambling:  Clayton has a past problem with gambling that threatens to engulf him again.
  • Violence:  A man is injected in the neck; a car bomb detonates.