Michael Clayton

Rated NR

Here we have a neatly constructed and beautifully photographed legal thriller from The Bourne Identity scriptwriter Tony Gilroy. In his directorial debut, Gilroy assembled a perfect cast, including Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sydney Pollack, Michael O’Keefe and George Clooney, in the titular role. The story follows the mad machinations of evil agro-business U/North as the company tries to put an end to goodness and nudity. Meanwhile, evil law firm Kenner, Bach and Ledeen tries to help U/North while keeping the company from killing too many of their lawyers. The plot is all neat twists and turns, but it never feels gimmicky, and Clooney is the perfect anchor, giving the whole tangled mess a heavy center of gravitas. While there are and have been better thrillers, this is at least a terribly decent one. It’s more than diverting enough for an evening of popcorn and murder.

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