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"MICHAEL CLAYTON"
(2007) (George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Minor Extreme Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Mild Mild None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor Moderate Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Suspense: A lawyer known for cleaning up legal messes out of the courtroom finds his resolve determined when he must track down his mentor who's threatening to expose the wrongdoings of his client, a well-financed manufacturer that's facing a class-action lawsuit.
PLOT:
At the New York law firm of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen, Michael Clayton (GEORGE CLOONEY) is the go to guy when things need fixing in ways that can't be handled in the courtroom or via traditional legal methods. Although the former prosecutor is quite good at what he does, he isn't happy, which is why he's recently tried to open his own restaurant. Yet, thanks to bad dealings with his alcoholic business partner brother, Michael's $75,000 in debt, and his former gambling addiction isn't helping matters.

Nevertheless, he must still do his job, and his latest assignment is finding his former mentor, Arthur Edens (TOM WILKINSON), the firm's chief litigator in a multi-year and multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit representing the agrochemical company U/North.

A manic-depressive, he's apparently gone off his medication and had a breakdown during a deposition, stripping down to just his socks in the courtroom before disappearing from sight. U/North's head honcho, Don Jefferies (KEN HOWARD), wants his company's lead counsel, Karen Crowder (TILDA SWINTON), to resolve matters quickly, a point shared by the law firm's two bosses, Marty Bach (SYDNEY POLLACK) and Barry Grissom (MICHAEL O'KEEFE).

Wanting to help his friend before he does any more damage to his career or their law firm, Michael sets out to find him. Yet, as he starts his search, various discoveries and revelations begin to cloud his judgment, leaving him in a quandary about what to do. With Karen driven to desperate measures to try to prevent any potentially damaging information about U/North from being released, Michael must decide whether to do what's right or what's best for him.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might, especially if they're fans of Clooney or lawyer-based thrillers.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language including some sexual dialogue.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • GEORGE CLOONEY plays a lawyer at a firm who doesn't practice law in the traditional sense, but rather is the go to guy when things need fixing outside the courtroom or normal legal boundaries. Faced with various quandaries (helping or capturing his former mentor, doing his job to pay off his debt or doing the right thing, etc.), he must choose what's right, while also facing increased danger. He uses strong profanity, does a little drinking, and is said to have a gambling problem.
  • TOM WILKINSON plays his mentor, a well-respected lawyer and lead litigator for a multi-billion dollar lawsuit who suddenly snaps from being overworked as well as the realization that he's been doing the wrong thing. Off his meds, he becomes a loose but still wily cannon, and he uses strong profanity.
  • SYDNEY POLLACK plays Michael's boss at the firm who wants him to fix things as usual. He uses strong profanity, and does a little drinking.
  • TILDA SWINTON plays her firm's unofficial cleaner who takes matters into her own hands regarding doing what's best for her company, its reputation, and its financial future. She uses some profanity, and exhibits a calculated viciousness that wouldn't otherwise seem within her.
  • MICHAEL O'KEEFE plays another boss at the firm who clashes with Michael.
  • KEN HOWARD plays Karen's boss at the firm.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this dramatic thriller that's been rated R. Profanity consists of at least 21 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually explicit dialogue is present, a woman is seen in her bra, and there's talk of a middle-aged lawyer losing it and running around a parking lot in just his socks.

    Violence consists of a professional style murder (quietly done and disturbing, but without blood) and an attempt on another life via car bombs. That material and other moments of potential peril might be suspenseful or unsettling for some viewers, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Some characters smoke or drink, and one minor one is noted as being a recovering alcoholic. Finally, some tense family material is also present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's occasionally some bouncy handheld camerawork in the film, as well as at least one spin-around camera shot.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • About his alcoholic brother, Michael refers to the "coke dealing waitress he knocked up."
  • A miscellaneous man refers to his wife as having been an alcoholic.
  • A person has a drink in a bar.
  • Michael has what looks like wine.
  • Michael has a beer by him.
  • Michael's alcoholic brother Timmy states that he's eight days sober.
  • Miscellaneous people drink in a bar where Michael and Marty also drink.
  • We see champagne in a fridge.
  • Michael has a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Brief crude talk, heard only in audio, has Arthur talking about being reborn, but then saying he realized that was from the "asshole" of some creature.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • A lawyer refers to an unseen reporter as a "c*nt."
  • A client who Michael tries to help has a nerves-based bad attitude, panicked that he's been involved in a hit and run accident. He's demeaning to Michael and even suggests passing off the accident as a stolen car case.
  • Karen hires goons to spy on Arthur and go through his home when he's not there.
  • Spoiler Alert: Karen hires a goon to kill a potential human commodity to her company's financial future. He and another goon then complete that task, and then try to do the same to another man, again hired by her to get rid of a potential problem for her company.
  • As an under the table favor, a cop gives Michael a police sealed sticker (to reseal over a door at a crime scene after Michael illegally snoops around inside the place).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • We hear the shower running and Michael then becomes concerned when Arthur doesn't answer from there. Accordingly, Michael kicks the door open and rushes to the shower, but it's empty (Arthur has escaped).
  • Two men grab and shock another man into submissiveness. They then squirt an inhaler into his mouth, drag him back into his place, remove his shoe and sock, and inject him with some lethal substance. The victim quivers for a moment, and then apparently dies, with the men staging that scene as a suicide via overdose.
  • We see that goons are trailing Michael.
  • As Michael snoops around Arthur's place, cops suddenly yell out for him to freeze and aim their handguns at him.
  • A goon plants two bombs in Michael's car, but can't finish one when Michael returns to his car early. The guy scrambles to get out in time and does, and then he and another goon follow Michael in their car (alternating between losing and finding him via the tracking device inside). Since we already saw the earlier car bomb explosion, the tension here is muted, but the film still plays it up as suspenseful. We then see the earlier scene where the car explodes, and then does so again.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • With him out of it and at a distance, Michael's car suddenly explodes and then does so again (from two bombs hidden within it).
  • A cop retrieves his handgun from a home safe and holsters it.
  • As Michael snoops around Arthur's place, cops suddenly yell out for him to freeze and aim their handguns at him.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Who the f*ck is..?" "What the f*ck..?" "It's a f*cking nightmare," "When did you get so f*cking delicate?" "People are f*cking incomprehensible," "Are you f*cking soft?" "You're way the f*ck wrong," "Are you so f*cking blind?" "You're so f*cked," "I don't give a sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "Holy sh*t," "Whore house," "With your d*ck hanging out," "Knocked up" (got pregnant), "Don't piss off a motivated stripper," "I am Shiva, the god of death," "Open the G*ddamn door," "Why the hell not?" "Who the hell's gonna stop him?" "Pissing," "What the hell /is he doing/was he thinking/is going on?" "Freaking out," "Pissed off," "That crazy, G*ddamn bastard," "Take a piss," "Balls" (testicles), "You look like hell," "He's an asshole" and "Pretty freaky, huh?"
  • We see miscellaneous graffiti.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • With him out of it and at a distance, Michael's car suddenly explodes and then does so again (from two bombs hidden within it).
  • Someone suddenly yells out during a quiet scene.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 21 "f" words, 11 "s" words, 3 slang terms using male genitals ("c*ck" and "d*ck"), 1 using female ones ("c*nt"), 11 hells, 4 asses (all used with "hole"), 1 crap, 1 S.O.B., 12 uses of "G-damn," 3 of "For Christ's sakes," 2 of "Jesus," and 1 use each of "For God's sakes," "My God," "Oh Jesus," "Oh my God" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • About his alcoholic brother, Michael refers to the "coke dealing waitress he knocked up."
  • We briefly see views of Karen in her bra, with a frontal view showing some cleavage.
  • There's talk of Arthur stripping down during a routine deposition, and we later see video of that act, but only to the point of him being shirtless. We hear that he eventually got down to just his socks and chased some woman around the parking lot "with your d*ck hanging out."
  • Arthur mentions being in a "whore house" where two prostitutes took turns "sucking my dick." He mentions not wanting to "come" right away, and then says something about that again, as well as about "two Lithuanian mouths on my c*ck."
  • SMOKING
  • Several miscellaneous characters smoke in a few scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see that Michael's son, Henry, lives with the boy's mother.
  • We hear that the wife to Michael's alcoholic brother took him back.
  • Michael is mad at his brother who's somehow fully or partially responsible for their restaurant venture failing, and Michael now owing $75,000.
  • We hear that Arthur's wife died a year ago and that he doesn't talk with his daughter.
  • Michael's alcoholic brother Timmy states that he's eight days sober, but Michael wants nothing to do with him (due to their failed financial venture).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Lawyers, law firms, and class-action lawsuits.
  • Manic-Depressives.
  • What happens when people work too long on one project.
  • What happens when people go off their mental health medication.
  • We learn that Michael has past gambling problems.
  • VIOLENCE
  • With him out of it and at a distance, Michael's car suddenly explodes and then does so again (from two bombs hidden within it). We later see this happen again (the same scene).
  • Michael kicks the door open and rushes to the shower when he thinks something has happened to Arthur.
  • Two men grab and shock another man into submissiveness. They then squirt an inhaler into his mouth, drag him back into his place, remove his shoe and sock, and inject him with some lethal substance. The victim quivers for a moment, and then apparently dies, with the men staging that scene as a suicide via overdose.



  • Reviewed September 24 / Posted October 5, 2007

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