Thursday, 21 February 2008

who is michael clayton?

a poker game. after some rounds, a player gets a phone call, gets up and out of the room, leaves the house. obviously, somebody is in trouble and it's his job to fix it. he does his best, but still, he is distracted, unconcentrated, fixes another lawyer to the situation and leaves. back in his car, he starts driving around, without any actual goal. at some point, he stops, the landscape is beautiful, there are horses nearby and he leaves the car to enjoy the peace surrounding him. a minute later, his car explodes.

who is this man? what is it he is doing? these are the two central questions in "michael clayton". of course, there is a whole plot woven around him and the lawfirm he works for, and the macguffin being used (big bad company is up to something real evil and will destroy hundreds of small farms) is not the newest one, but unlike these john grisham-thrillers from the 90s (you know, "the firm", "the client", "the pelican brief"), the focus lays entirely on this one character. this means, not only in his role as a working man, but as well in his role as a father, a brother, a friend, a human being with problems. and then, there are these questions again. who is michael clayton? what does he do?

the movie tries to outline some answers to these questions, but somehow comes back to them again and again. we get to know why somebody would want him dead, but he himself still doesn't really know who he is, or what his position in his lawfirm is. but then again, him being officially dead seems to free him from these questions in some way. as if they suddently aren't as important any more. or maybe he found an answer and just doesn't want to share it with us.
which is just as good.

now, when it comes to the oscars - i'm not quite sure if the film really would deserve it. it's great, but there are a lot of great movies out there right now, and i'm not sure that this one is the best of the best. let's see.. just one weekend away...

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