Michael Clayton (2007)
Audio Commentary-With Tony Gilroy (Director) and John Gilroy (Editor)
|Year Of Production||2007|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (66:59)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Tony Gilroy|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|RPI||?||Music||James Newton Howard|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is a "fixer" for one of New York's largest law firms. When the proverbial poo has hit the fan, Michael is the man they send in to clean it all up. He is a highly talented lawyer in his own right, but the combination of his bad habits (namely drinking and gambling) and varied skills have kept him working out of the public eye and never on any case of his own. Michael's vices have held back his career progression within the firm despite being one of their greatest assets. A string of bad debts leaves him financially dependent on them. Unsurprisingly, this has complicated his family life. Still, Michael is bitter but fiercely dedicated.
One of the firms leading clients is U-North, a chemical company who have been locked in a six year long class action suit against a group of people who have contracted cancer from their pesticides. The case is looking promising until the leading attorney, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson), stops taking his meds. Edens suffers a breakdown during a mediation and the firm is sent into damage control. Senior partner Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack) sends Clayton in to sort out the mess.
U-North's own in-house counsel Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton in an Oscar-winning performance) has also gone into damage control. Suspicious of what Clayton is up to, Crowder starts her own investigations. At first this leads to a battle of wits with Clayton, whose first priority is his firm rather than U-North, but is not long before this corporate battle becomes much more sinister.
Michael Clayton is a taut thriller. Pulling together a tense battle of wits and a sinister corporate conspiracy, the film is quite reminiscent of Sydney Pollack's thrillers Three Days of the Condor, The Yakuza and the recent The Interpreter. Pollack's presence in the film further reinforces these similarities, and also offers a level of endorsement to the film (perhaps he's passing the torch to director Tony Gilroy). Thankfully, these similarities do not amount to a rip off. Michael Clayton walks its own path and brings a renewed spirit to the genre.
The characters of the film are incredibly well fleshed out. Furthermore, every significant character is played flawlessly. The performances are excellent. Tilda Swinton deservedly picked up a best supporting actress gong at the 2008 Academy Awards for her performance. George Clooney and Tom Wilkinson were nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. Tom Wilkinson deserved to win (at least he was beaten by a genuinely deserving performance from Javier Bardem).
For my money, Michael Clayton was the best movie of 2007. It offers deep intrigue that is guaranteed to keep audiences on the edge of their seats, solid characters and brilliant performances. It is one of the most subversive, anti-corporate films you are likely to see come out of the Hollywood studio system. Highly recommended.
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The video looks excellent. The image is razor sharp. The level of detail in shadows is excellent and blacks are very well defined. Mild film grain is present.
The colour in the transfer is bold and even. The film makes excellent use of blue-grey tones and this is well represented in the transfer.
There are no signs of compression related artefacts or film artefacts in the transfer.
English subtitles are present and appear to be accurate and well timed.
This is an RSDL disc. The layer break occurs at 66:59 but was not noticeable on my equipment.
An English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) audio track and a Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kbps) audio track are present for the feature.
The dialogue is clearly audible and well synchronised.
The film features an orchestral score by James Newton Howard. It does seem like thriller-score-by-numbers, but fits the film well.
The film makes dynamic use of the surrounds throughout. The soundscape is effectively used to build tension and draw particular attention to key passages of dialogue. The subwoofer is used sparingly, but to good effect.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras package is disappointingly slim. Even the menus are a static, silent affair (once you have endured an irritating anti-piracy clip).
A dry, technical commentary. The tone is serious and the pair don't have anything much to say (though they take their time to say it). Even the most ardent fans will probably want to skip this one.
A handful of deleted scenes with optional commentary. These scenes are relatively interesting. The scenes feature an additional character; a casual girlfriend of Michael's that was removed to shorten and de-clutter the character development.
The Region 1 and Region 4 versions are identical in terms of content.
Michael Clayton is a taut corporate thriller, filled with brilliant performances and interesting characters. Stylistically, the film borrows from Sydney Pollack's thrillers, though it brings a fresh energy to the screen.
The extras are quite limited.
The video and audio are both of a very high standard.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|