Michael Clayton (2007, Tony Gilroy)

As with “Before The Devil” which I saw the same day, it’s a bit of classical hollywood storytelling without a very innovative story. This one I loved, however, and “Devil” just seemed okay.

Directorial debut by Gilroy, writer of the Bourne trilogy and junk like “Armageddon”. Starts at the end (not quite the end), and don’t know about opening credits beause I was a few minutes late. Opens with the only calm moment in George’s few days (few weeks? I forget), his pulling off the road and wandering into a field to admire some horses. George is middle of the shot with his look of tired awe, on one side of the frame a horse very close, on the other George’s car idling down on the road. Just when I’m thinking “what, are they trying to show George as being caught between nature and technology?” the car fuckin explodes and the movie begins.

George is the company fixer at a law firm run by the awesome Sydney Pollack (Eyes Wide Shut) and is called in to deal with his good friend, the awesome Tom Wilkinson, who has gone nuts in the middle of a multi-year class-action suit defending a horrible company who hurt a buncha people… a company with a legal team run by the awesome Tilda Swinton. So it’s already shaping up to be a pretty awesome movie. Tom gets killed (set up as suicide) and George loses his faith, ends up with Tom’s evidence against the company he was supposed to defend, and presents it personally to Tilda in one of the most gratifying, well-deserved righteous climax scenes I can recall. What’s next is even better, with George just on fire, going downstairs and out to a cab, driving off in one long shot, camera fixed on his face as the closing credits roll and we watch George veeeerrry gradually loosen up, realizing that he’s won.