Sunday, October 21, 2007


Friday Movie Review (early)

Went with Kit and her sister and bro-in-law, Amy and Mark respectively, to Michael Clayton, the new George Clooney vehicle, and a rather slow moving vehicle at that, especially the first half hour; it was like the old bottom of the line Mercedes diesels, slow, slow, slow. Then it picked up a bit. But there were stupid things as well, discussed below. Not that satisfying. But Clooney was really good (as was Tom Wilkerson, but he's always good, as is fellow Brit, Tilda Swinton, being here the banality of evil, chief corporate council for the evil big chemical corporation). Clooney, who here plays a good fixer, hasn't been this good since Out of Sight, his previous high point.

OK there is this evil corporation, u north, which makes this carcinogenic weed killer and is fighting a 3 billion class action by the farmer families in northern states who have suffered the effects the corporation would have preferred for the weeds. Rather than recall the chemical, even though they know its properties, they put profits over lives and are evil in that respect. Yeah, that's the liberal view of evil corporations, but fortunately it is a rare event, especially in the big ones. Then the corporation is even more evil to have on coded retainer, two evil, evil fixers who will break and enter and surveil illegally and even kill you (a very, very chilling scene) and plant a bomb in your Mercedes 550. Let's talk about the two, who look like they could be brothers. One played the hapless geek Kent in Real Genius back in the 80s and the other is the drunken attorney on Rescue Me. They are fairly efficient but not that good. If only u north had hired seriously good assassins.

You see there is a smoking gun memo which details that u north continued to sell the weed killer with malice and reckless indifference to the consequences it caused some of the families who used it. That knowledge sends top defense litigator Tom Wilkerson over the edge and he strips down to just his socks at a videotaped depo and chases a young female complainant into a parking lot telling her he loves her. Maybe he does.

Almost all of the good stuff comes in the mini-flashback (4 days ago) and you wonder at the end why there was the first 30 minutes. Now let's get to the other mistakes. If the evil fixers are listening to everything Wilkerson is saying, they know he has seduced the young farm weed killer cancer survivor to come to New York so he can give her the smoking gun and other details which make her and the other 449 litigants' case (and he has Dom Perignon on ice with two glasses--celebration or further seduction?). Isn't that planning for the future which would cause anyone to doubt that he killed himself before he picked her up? Would the evil fixers blow the bomb without it being in sight and knowing Clooney and only Clooney is aboard? Unless the fire gets really hot and lasts a long time, a body inside it leaves identifiable remains, at least some bone fragments. The fire departments around the country don't say they have recovered and identified a body in a fire unless they actually do pull out the charred remains of a body. Unbelievable. Finally, Tilda leaves the stockholder's meeting and walks through two sets of doors. Clooney accosts her, in a very good scene, after the second. How did he know she would come out the second set of doors?

Lawyers will defend people they know are guilty (and that has a price as the odd (but certainly not crazy) behavior of Wilkerson shows), but few actually aid and abet murder and other crimes. As Clooney points out, they buy off people, they don't kill them. What the freak is Tilda thinking? Oh yeah, its the corruption of power. Oh yeah, all big chemical (or oil or tobacco) corporations are evil. I keep forgetting the lefty mindset. The case would have been settled as soon as the smoking gun memo was brought to the attention of the defense team. To think that any real corporation would risk the bad publicity of the discovery of such a smoking gun is laughable. It is this series of serious structural flaws to the plot (and the director, first time here in the chair, is a renowned Hollywood writer, primarily of the Bourne series) which makes this movie too hard to swallow to be satisfying. Still, Clooney is really good, and when it's cooking with intrigue, it's pretty darn tight.


I read your review of this film

I understand that the Mercedes Car was a model 550.

Mercedes advertise this car with suggestions that it has strong security features but leaves out that it is user friendly to people that wish to plant bombs.

There never seems to be an alarm.
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