In Tony Gilroy’s feature directing debut, Michael Clayton he brings the genre reinvigoration that he used in writing the Bourne films to the legal thriller. Story-wise it’s familiar territory, but it’s directed and structured in a thoughtful and fascinating way with George Clooney’s great performance at the centre of everything. At one point I noticed that I was watching Clooney listening to another character speaking as it was fascinating to figure out what he was thinking. The film (and the characters) seem to be aware of the well-worn cliches and the surprises in the film are in how the film avoids or reworks them. The film isn’t flashy or excessive, but just a well-crafted look at a world of moral choices in a world that is more reality than fantasy.
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