Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama Michael Clayton (2007)

Michael Clayton (2007)

 First of all this reviewer would like to applaud this movie’s director/screenwriter, Tony Gilroy for having the courage to produce a script that directly reflects on the actionable conduct of one of the world’s largest corporations as it moves to attempt world-wide control of food production, Monsanto. The story presented could certainly represent any one of several law suits being brought against them today for similar criminal wrong-doing, even on scales larger than that the film portrays, like the monopolizing of providing seed from genetically “enhanced” and untested stock, while executing policies to remove more proven alternatives from access to farmers. Schemes, of course, to further remove independent farmers entirely from the industry as competitors and to place themselves as rulers in a realm we must all depend upon even more than we do that of energy.

As well, George Clooney should be applauded for accepting the leading role. His status confers on him that discernment, the one between “being offered” and “having accepted” roles. His service to his role is exceptional, allowing him a far better breadth of expressing his acting skills or range than that of other roles immediately recalled. The supporting cast is prodigious in the sheer numbers of adept actors that perform, some reaching their own defining levels of acumen in their craft. No stereo-types, the characterizations develop with complexity and honesty just as they would in the dramas of real life. Tilda Swinton plays, as the corporate head of a leading law firm involved in a lengthy three billion dollar lawsuit, Karen Crowder, reduced by expedience to utilize assassins, goes through the tortured decline that takes before the viewer. Her performance is superb. Likewise that of Tom Wilkinson as Arthur Edens, the firms “architect” for their case whose guilt and personal insights come to meet at nexus in a brilliance of seemingly maddened revelation…almost like the transformation of King Lear into Tom O’Bedlam. The film begins with his astoundingly literary writings to his fellow legal colleague “janitor” (a problem solver of Mr. Fixit proportions,) Michael Clayton, George Clooney.

But it is the craftsmanship in the making of this movie, both in its script and in the almost alchemical way in which scenes are brought about, ways that highly respect personal attributes of the actors themselves, that make this movie production so justify the stark importance its script comes to bear upon all our lives. No better example of this can be found than in that where Michael confides in his son what he sees in him that sets him apart the frailties of those around him. Indeed it is the boy’s focus on a particular heroic fiction he comes to share both with his father and Arthur Edens that leads, not only to an interesting metaphor for what is happening but to an actual extra-real element that ends in saving the day. Something we might actually see at critical times in life, when the Hand of God might be moved to save man from himself.

This is a movie that finds heroes larger than life, but within life. It is a movie where dramatic intensity is enhanced by real sacrifices we see being made and real resolution. Where we all can be reaffirmed all is not lost to too much power yielded to the too few…not yet at least.

A number of years ago this reviewer was impressed with some research a certain gentleman had published in horticulture periodicals on intensive agriculture problems where seasonal run-off by torrential rain and lack of level land threatened soil depletion. His emphasis on hydroponics and a more controlled environment for food production encouraged me to contact him about something I knew that could play an important role in the future of the planet’s ability to feed its population.

Further effort led me to locating him at a research facility the Trilateral Commission kept on the King Ranch in Texas. That is where I visited Robert Hightower with a sample of the substance I already knew could change this world for the better. Mr. Hightower was eager to test it and found my claims to be understated. His excitement soon led him to confront his superiors about it in an effort to include its many attributes into their agendas.

Their response, however, led to his own revelation of their ultimate goals and his role with them, causing him to leave their service and to embark on a quest to claim the available deposits of this substance for the benefit of mankind. Their response, the one that led to this decision was: “You do not control the world through plenty, but through hunger.”

Yes, this is a movie whose time is come and whose message is pure.



2 thoughts on “Michael Clayton (2007)”

  1. Why, thank you, Justin. I, as well, find in your reviews an appreciation
    for social consciousness. Unless viewers come to this movie with that I’m
    afraid they won’t get nearly as much out of it. Especially since the circus
    of court room proceedings is missing.

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