Monday, February 16, 2009

Michael Clayton

Watched Michael Clayton last night, about which I'd heard rave reviews.
An intense piece with a fairly good story; rather too many characters, and a subplot about Clayton’s financial woes that really doesn’t add a lot to the thing. If he’s so smart why did he get himself in that sort of a mess?
The film is at times just a little slow, even though the actors try hard not to let you think of it as slow. It’s the pacing of the thing somehow. Some scenes are perhaps too long, so it’s probably the fault of the script or the cutting rather than anything else. One scene in particular, in which Tom Wilkinson (who’s lost the plot pretty much by this time) stands holding a dozen French sticks while talking to George Clooney (who plays Clayton), becomes annoying: your mind starts to ask, What was it like to do that scene several times holding all that bread? How annoying for the poor actor – especially since the French sticks don’t really play any role in the scene other than to be held.
The opening flash forward seems fine at the time, but when we see what it’s about, later in the movie, it’s a bit pretentious. What the heck have the horses got to do with the story? Okay, they show up in a book that Clayton’s son is reading and has passed onto Wilkinson, but beyond that they don’t really connect up.
Thinking about it, the film has a few excess stories: apart from Clayton’s financial woes, there’s his alcoholic brother who doesn’t appear to contribute anything to the film; all the silly stuff about the book with the strange name that the boy is so passionate about; Tilda Swinton’s rehearsing of her lines before the scene they appear in, and so on. Just a bit too much of a good thing at times.
Plainly the film needed some weight loss supplements!
Post a Comment